In its latest report, the recently resuscitated Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) which monitors media houses and their reporting during the elections period, found coverage by the state-owned NCN television and radio stations and the Guyana Chronicle newspaper to be heavily biased towards the government.
As matter of fact, the NCN news, during October 1-31st, the period in review, gave government substantial amounts of positive coverage with the positive to negative ratio of coverage a staggering 176:1.
Channel 28 Evening News and Channel 65 News Update were also found to be heavily slanted in favour of government.
In total, seven television stations, four newspapers and the state-owned radio Voice of Guyana (VoG) were monitored by the unit which falls under the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and was established shortly before the 2006 General Elections.
For the reporting period, the Editorials of the Kaieteur News newspapers provided the government with moderate amounts of positive, negative and neutral coverage, “with the negative being measurably larger than the positive, resulting in net negative coverage” to the government.
In the general news section of the newspaper, the government scored more positives with a positive to negative ratio of publicity of over 4:1.
Amongst the political parties, the PPP/C stood out with the largest amount of positive coverage, followed by APNU, AFC, TUF and JFAP.
The PPP/C also headed the table for negative coverage, this time followed by TUF, APNU, AFC and JFAP, in that order. At the individual level, the PPP/C gained a positive to negative ratio of coverage of over 3:1; APNU’s positive to negative was 11:1; AFC’s 36:1; JFAP 4:1.
From the letter pages, the government ended up with net negative coverage that was reflected in a negative to positive ratio of over 6:1.
Amongst the political parties, the AFC gained the highest amount of positive coverage, and was followed by the PPP/C and APNU, in that order; whilst, the PPP/C accumulated the most negative coverage, followed sequentially by APNU and AFC.
The newspaper’s columnists, MMU found, provided the incumbent administration with net negative coverage, with the AFC taking the top spot for positive coverage, followed by APNU, PPP/C.
“The editorials of the Guyana Chronicle newspaper provided the government with a numerically large amount of positive coverage, an infinitesimal amount of negative and a relatively small amount of neutral publicity,” the MMU report said.
The positive to negative ratio of coverage calculated for the government, in this instance, was significant at 188:1. In terms of coverage measured for the political parties, the PPP/C received a large share of positive coverage and a small amount of neutral; APNU, a moderate amount of negative and a small amount of neutral and AFC, a small amount of negative only.
“The PPP/C was the only party that was apportioned positive coverage by the Editorial writers, while APNU and AFC were the recipients of net negative publicity, with APNU being portrayed three times more negative than the AFC.”
From the Letters Column, the government and PPP/C was the beneficiary of the largest slice of positive coverage and was trailed distantly by the AFC and TUF, in that order. APNU was the recipient of the highest amount of negative coverage, followed by AFC and JFAP.
Stabroek News’s Editorials were largely negative of the government, whilst, at the same time providing them with a small amount of positive and a moderate amount of neutral publicity.
“And, from the coverage given, the Government was the ‘beneficiary’ of net negative publicity that was reflected in a negative to positive ratio of coverage of over 21:1. Amongst the political parties, the PPP/C attracted the most negative coverage and was similarly followed by APNU and JFAP, in that order.
The newspaper’s columnists provided the Government with varying but large amounts of positive, negative and neutral coverage. However, the negative overwhelmed the positive by a margin of over 3:1.
“In the General News section of the Newspaper, the Government was the awardee of superfluous amounts of positive and neutral coverage, and a large amount of negative. However, the positive coverage that they (the Government) acquired swamped the negative by a margin of 5:1.”
Meanwhile, with respect to the Editorials of the Guyana Times newspaper, only the PPP/C and APNU received positive coverage, with the PPP/C gaining five times the amount measured for APNU.
“The AFC, was given the most negative coverage, closely followed by APNU, then PPP/C, with JFAP obtaining the least.”
From the contents of the letters published in the newspaper, the PPP/C was the only party that acquired positive coverage for this reporting period, albeit, a moderate amount.
Regarding CNS Channel 6, the Talk Shows indicated that government was the recipient of a small amount of positive coverage, “a huge portion of negative, and a relatively moderate amount of neutral. The ratio of positive to negative coverage calculated for the Government was around 39:1.”
Amongst the political parties, APNU attracted the most positive coverage, followed closely by JFAP, AFC and PPP/C, in that order.
“On the flip side, PPP/C consumed the largest share of negative coverage, and was trailed a long way back by APNU and AFC, in that order.”
Capitol News saw the government being given exceedingly more negative than positive coverage, resulting in a negative to positive spread of coverage of approximately 2:1. Amongst the political parties, APNU was given the most positive coverage, followed in order by PPP/C, then AFC, with TUF bringing up the rear.
Separately, the PPP/C amassed almost equal amounts of positive and neutral coverage, which was separated by a smaller amount of negative, resulting in the Party achieving a positive to negative spread of coverage that was approximately 2:1.
“APNU was the beneficiary of a relatively large amount of positive and a small amount of neutral publicity; AFC garnered a moderate amount of positive and a small amount of neutral coverage; JFAP secured an infinitesimal amount of neutral coverage, only and, TUF, small amounts of negative and neutral coverage, and an even smaller amount of positive publicity, resulting in a negative to positive ratio of coverage that was over 7:1.”
From the talk shows on Channel 7, government received a negative to positive ratio of publicity that was nearly 9:1.
HBTV Channel 9 and its independent Prime News newscast furnished the government and the political parties with coverage as follows: the government was given substantial amounts of positive, negative and neutral coverage, attracting, in the process, measurably more positive than negative publicity.
Amongst the political parties, APNU gained the largest share of positive publicity, followed by the PPP/C, AFC, TUF and JFAP, in that order. In the negative columns, the PPP/C absorbed the lion’s share of coverage and was trailed by TUF, APNU and AFC.
Channel 9’s First Look News gave the government more negative news than positive, though not by much.
“The news team also awarded APNU the largest share of positive coverage amongst the political parties, followed by PPP/C and AFC, in that order. Only the PPP/C and JFAP received negative coverage through the newscast, with the PPP/C absorbing the most. Individually, the PPP/C was allotted almost equal but small amounts of positive and negative publicity, with a slightly larger amount of neutral coverage thrown into the mix.”
From Channel 9 Talk Shows, the Government was ‘adorned’ with a quantitatively large amount of negative coverage, compared to the relatively small amounts of positive and neutral coverage they attracted.
Slanted Evening News
According to MMU, Channel 28 Evening News was heavily slanted to government which received, in the positive to negative ratio, an overwhelming 105:1.
Amongst the political parties, the PPP/C attracted the most positive coverage, followed by APNU, AFC, FSG, TUF and JFAP, in that order. APNU was the recipient of the largest amount of negative publicity, and was followed by TUF, JFAP, AFC and PPP/C, in that order. TUF gained a small amount of positive and almost equally small amounts of negative and neutral coverage.
Coming out of the General Programs broadcast over the channel; the PPP/C was given a large amount of positive publicity; APNU, a small amount of negative; and AFC, a relatively tiny amount of negative. Of the two parties that were negatively covered – APNU and AFC – APNU was portrayed over six times more negative than the AFC.
The advertisements aired over the channel provided the PPP/C with a large amount of positive coverage; APNU, a small amount of negative; and, AFC, small amounts of positive and negative, but with slightly more positive than negative.
Channel 65 News Update too was heavily slanted towards government with a positive to negative ratio of coverage that was calculated by the unit at almost 52:1. From amongst the ranks of the political parties, the PPP/C received the most positive coverage, followed by APNU and AFC, while APNU garnered the most negative coverage, followed by AFC, TUF and PPP/C, in that order.
In the channel’s talk shows, the PPP/C was the only party that gained positive coverage. APNU absorbed the most negative coverage, and was followed sequentially by AFC and PPP/C.
“Further, the difference in the positive and negative coverage that the Government received was significant at over 403:1. Amongst the political parties, the PPP/C was the only party that gained positive coverage; whilst APNU and AFC were the only two parties that were negatively portrayed.”
Channel 69 was also found to be slanted towards the government with positive to negative ratio over 35:1. Only the three major political parties – PPP/C, APNU and AFC – secured coverage through the Talk Shows, with the PPP/C being the only party gaining a significant amount of positive coverage, which was mixed with a moderate amount of neutral publicity.
“Revisiting the talk shows, it should be noted that the overly substantial amounts of positive coverage timed by the Unit for the ruling PPP/C and to some extent the Government, and the visibly disproportionate amount of negative coverage timed for APNU, are not unrelated, since the majority of the timings were derived largely from the PPP/C aligned programs, ‘Getting it Right’ and ‘Square Talk’.”
NCN’s radio, VOG News gave the Government a large slice of positive coverage and a moderate portion of neutral publicity. The PPP/C gained the most positive coverage, and was sequentially followed by the AFC and APNU. Only APNU and AFC attracted measurable amounts of negative publicity from the newscast, with APNU gaining the most.”
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