Thursday, May 21, 2009

EU Media Monitoring

An interview with Mirella Marchese, the head of Media Monitoring as part of the EU Observation Mission.
What is the main objective of international media monitoring?

The main goal of media monitoring within election observation missions is to assess whether parties and candidates gain fair and equitable access to the media, whether political contestants are covered in an unbiased manner, whether the media adhere to regulations on coverage.

Will there be an interim report of media abuses or will reporting only occur after the elections?

In accordance with standard election observation missions’ methodology and in line with the principle of non-interference in the election process, media monitoring findings will be issued at the end of the campaign and will be part of a Preliminary Statement presented immediately after E-day. A more comprehensive analysis will be part of a Final Report normally issued within two months of the completion of the electoral process.

Are the qualitative and quantitative methodology used standardized for all countries or is the methodology tailored to each situation?

A standard media monitoring methodology used by an election observation mission would produce an analysis of the distribution of media time and space given to political contestants. The project aims to provide a clear and reliable observation of the distribution of time and space, based on the measurement of the precise amount of coverage received and its tone. The quantitative analysis of the amount of media coverage and the tone of the coverage constitutes the core of methodology adopted by every mission. However, same variables in the research design can vary according to the different contests. The media analyst will need to refine the monitoring methodology according to the media and political landscape, to the different kinds of elections and to the legal framework in a given country. The methodology usually includes a qualitative analysis, too. The qualitative analysis can focus on a range of different aspects including: instances of hate speech and inflammatory language, media coverage of voter education, the formats used to cover election issues.

What is the size of the media monitoring team?

A media unit of an election observation mission is usually composed of a media analyst and a number of national media assistants. The number of media monitors depends on the size of the sample selected for the analysis. The European Election Observation Mission to Lebanon is currently working with a media monitoring team of 14 media monitors. Our monitored sample includes 8 Lebanese TV stations and 4 newspapers.

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