The Media Monitoring Unit stemming from the Independent Higher Authority for Elections (IHAE) presented on Friday in Tunis, its 2nd report on monitoring the media coverage of political players from October 1st to 13.
The observation sample regarded the public and private media: 9 daily newspapers, 9 TV channels, 13 regional and private radio stations and 3 electronic newspapers, Mr. Hamida el Bour, Monitoring Unit Chief said.
"We have also observed the foreign information channels watched by Tunisians, such as "Al Jazira" and "France 24," she pointed out, specifying that a qualitative survey had been conducted on "Al Mostaqilla" TV channel airing from London.
It appears from the report that "Al Wataniya 1 and 2" TV channels exclusively ensured the airing of the candidates' TV information spots, whereas, the private TV channels focused their coverage on open debates. The foreign TV channels' coverage was limited.
The coverage was neutral on the whole, but some channels did not reserve the same broadcasting time for political players, the report specifies.
Qatari TV channel "Al Jazira" reserved a clearly higher broadcasting time to "En-nahdha" Movement, and the 24 news channel "France 24" favoured "Ettakatol" Party.
"Al Mostaqilla" channel devoted its programme planning to the coverage of the electoral campaign of its owner Mr. Hachmi Hamdi, leader and candidate of the "Movement of People's Petition for Freedom, Justice and Development."
As regards women candidates, the report says that their presence was limited and represent not more than 10% on "Al Wataniya 1" and 20% on "Nessma TV."
The written press focused its coverage during the first 13 days of the campaign on field newsletters, neglecting exposés and reports as journalistic genres.
Arabic-language daily "Al-Chourouq" reserved the largest coverage space by editing a daily 24-page supplement devoted to the elections.
Some newspapers showed a clear partiality, by privileging particular parties, by means of 50% in some cases.
The presence of women politicians was very limited in the daily written press.
Political advertising and covert forms of advertising were recorded in some newspapers.
As regards radio stations, the public ones opted for a joint edition aired on all central and regional radios and a daily programme on the electoral campaign. The private stations opted for open debates.
The report estimates that radios were neutral on the whole, but they weren't fair towards women political players.
In the electronic press, an absence of neutrality was noticed in some information articles, in addition to a sensationalism tendency in some cases. Women politicians were almost absent from coverages, the report says.
The "Webmanagercenter" publishes filmed interviews of political players, which are advertised for several days on its front page.
Defamation cases of politicians were recorded in an article of the "Attounissia" online newspaper, the report concluded.