The Academy of Ukrainian Press in partnership with scholars of the Institute of Sociology, NAS of Ukraine has conducted the research applying the content analysis of prime time news (19:00 -23:00) at seven leading Ukrainian TV channels – ‘Inter’, ‘1+1’, ‘Ukraina’, STB, ICTV, UA: The First and the 5th Channel.
- 40% of news stream are political news in Ukraine (in June, 2016 – 32%, in September, 2015 – 46%). For the first time, for the years of observation, the channels are virtually indistinguishable according to this indicator;
- The share of reports with several opinions on events is stable – 15% in February, 12% in 2016, 14% in 2015;
- In comparison with the last two years, the share of plots against corruption has decreased. Regarding the blockade of uncontrolled territories, the channels are significantly differentiated according to the balance of opinions: from 100% of categorical assessments at UA: The First and the 5th channels till 75% of ambiguous at 1+1;
- Labeling of the conflict sides became less emotional comparing to the previous year;
- Conflict tone of event discussions increased from 41% in 2016 to 52% during the first week of February;
- Conspicuous is the misbalance of attention and broadcast share in favor of the ruling coalition and the government, the broadcast share of opposition was reduced up to 4%;
- The difference in political commitment of channel news programs still remains distinct.
In the first week of February, 40% of news program messages were related to political events in Ukraine (in September, 2015 – 46%, in June, 2016 – 32%). It is hardly the first time for the whole period of observation when the channels do not differentiate according to this indicator.
Information sources are more frequently personal correspondents – 52% (in June, 2016 – 53%) and official sources (46% vs. 49% in June, 2016 and 44% in September, 2015). Comparing to the previous year, the share of messages with reference to Facebook and Twitter increased up to 2.5 times (from 4% to 10%).
Domestic public policy, activity of government authorities 19% (16% in June 2016 and 23% in September) and the war in the East (19%, 13% last year in June, 12% in 2015 and 28% in October, 2014) is the most frequent topic of news. The share of plots against corruption is less than in two previous years – 7% vs. 12% in June, 2016 and 13% in September, 2015 as the main and additional topics. As the main topic it is the most covered at ICTV – 8%. Social sphere is more frequently (except from domestic policy) appears as the additional topic -19%.
Four events are in the focus of news week attention – consequences of shelling in the East (11%), weather (7%), criminal, fires, road accidents (7%), situation in Avdiyivka (6%).
From Ukrainian side, among the conflict participants, the most attention is to the state and governmental authorities (33%, in June last year 34%, in September, 2016 -22%). From another side – to Russia and its authorities (14% vs. 7% in September last year) and to the armed groups DPR and LPR – 9% (last year 5%).
It was most frequently reported about refugees and volunteers at UA: The First and STB, about civil people at ‘Ukraina’ channel, about Russia, DPR and LPR at 1+1 and Inter.
From Ukrainian side, the most positive mentioned were civil society organizations and volunteers – 43% (previous year 26%). Civil population in the East of Ukraine is assessed mostly neutral, and illegal armed groups DPR and LPR, Russia and its public authorities, Armed Forces of Russia are covered negatively from 2/3 till 100% as in the previous year..
Ukrainian conflict participants were most frequently labeled as ‘army men, military forces’ in line with patriots and volunteers – 12%. Labeling of the opposite side was negative, as in the previous year, (13%), but in line with terrorists, militants, mercenaries, bandits (12% in June 2016) appeared more neutral and official images (‘aggressor, enemy, Russian occupying forces’). Thus, naming became less emotionally colored.
15% of messages in overall were with several opinions (12% in June, 2016, 14% – in September, 2015). There are most of them at Inter 25%, 1+1 – 22%, when at the 5th channel there are only 6% of those.
Most events are interpreted in news categorically. In coverage of scandal or ambiguous events, the news share with several opinions is significantly increasing (to 50-80%; for example, ‘Fight between S. Leshchenko and I. Melnychuk in Verkhovna Rada’ – 83%, ‘Situation after increase of minimal salary’ – 75%). If an event is mentioned as additional in the context of the main one, the opinion balance indicators are significantly deformed in favor of one opinion (94% vs. 6%).
The tone of event discussion is predominantly conflict – 52% (41% in June, 2016). It is dominating in news of 1+1 (60%) and Inter (58%), and mostly reduced at UA: The First – 30%.
Official persons and citizens (each 32%) are commenting the events – this tendency has been remaining since the previous year.
The attention to political parties, political persons, political institutions made respectively 15%, 41%, 80% (in June, last year – 14%, 41%, 78%, in September, 2015 – 24%, 46%, 80%). Among political institutes the most frequently mentioned are law enforcement agencies – 40% (last year – 40%, in September, 2015 – 43%), Ministries and local authorities have 14% each. Doubtful and negative assessments are mostly addressed to the National bank (59%) and President Administration (50%). Political institutions, as in the previous year, are most critically assessed by STB news – 23% and also Inter – 23%.
The leaders of attention to political organizations in news programs are BPP – 4%, People’s Front and Opposition Block – 3% each. BPP received the most positive (4%) and negative (1%) assessments. Samopomich was mentioned only in a positive context.
Among the politicians, most attention had P. Poroshenko – 8% (last year 10%), V. Hroysman – 7% (last year 5%), A. Avakov and A. Parubii – 4%. The most positively mentioned was R. Akhmetov (60%, last year 53%). Ironic and negative assessments were frequently addressed to V. Hontareva (83%) and O. Onyshchenko (75%).
52 politicians and public officials had the broadcast share more than 35 seconds (in June, last year – 48 people and 20 seconds). The most broadcast share had P. Poroshenko and V. Hroysman – each 10%, O. Lyashko – 8% (88% of his broadcast share was at ‘Ukraina’ channel).
In the first week of February the attention to elements of power political configuration in news was composed so: ruling coalition – 51%, former coalition – 12%, opposition – 5%, non-partisan ‘other’ – 32%. The most attention to the former coalition and opposition was at Inter – 16% and 8% respectively. In the same way the broadcast share is divided: ruling coalition – 51%, former coalition – 17%, opposition – 4%, non-partisan ‘other’ – 28%. The broadcast share of opposition at Inter is 9%, at 1+1 – 6% and it is absent at UA: The First, ICTV and STB.
Among the political parties, the most attention was paid to P. Poroshenko Block representatives (24%, last year 14%), representatives of central governmental structures – 22% (in June last year – 20%), People’s Front – 7% (last year 6%). In contrast to last year, the attention is given to DPR and LPR member.
The most broadcast share had representatives of P. Poroshenko Block (26%, last year – 19%), representatives of central governmental structures (19%, last year – 36%), Batkivshchyna – 9%. Opposition Block representatives had the most broadcast share at Inter – 9% (in average – 4%). Batkivshchyna representatives had it at ‘Ukraina’ channel (16%) and Inter – 11% (in average 9%).
All detailed information regarding this research can be found at AUP website www.aup.com.ua
This research was conducted due to the support of the American people given by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Internews Network. The contents expressed in the materials are the responsibility of the Academy of Ukrainian Press and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, U.S. Government and Internews Network.