February 2019


 The Academy of Ukrainian Press (AUP) conducted research of prime-time news (19:00-23:00) covered by seven leading Ukrainian TV channels: ‘Inter’, ‘1+1’, ‘Ukraiina’, ‘STB’, ‘ICTV’, ‘UA: The First’ and ‘Channel 5’ based on the content analysis method with the participation of scientists from the Institute of Sociology, National Academy of Science of Ukraine.

Trends of prime-time news for February 2019:

 SUMMARY. The share of political news in Ukraine is the largest in television news programs of all channels. Channels vary in intensity of attention to political news. The main sources of information are scene correspondents. Attention to the presidential election is the same as in the 2014 elections - 18%. The TV channels are varying according to the share of attention while covering the elections 2019. Each fourth message about Ukraine is referring the topic of election campaign at such TV channels as: “Inter”, “ICTV”, “Ukraiina”, each eleventh one is so covered by 1 + 1 TV channel and only each twentieth at UA: The First channel. News mentioned 15 presidential candidates out of 44, registered by the Central Election Committee (CEC) (34%). The most frequently reported campaigns were of Y. Timoshenko, O. Vilkul, P. Poroshenko, O. Lyashko. The highest attention in news was paid to political candidates P. Poroshenko, Y.Tymoshenko, O. Lyashko, O.Vilkul, Y. Boyko, V. Zelensky. Y.Boyko and O.Vilkul who were discussed only in a positive and neutral context, and A.Gritsenko, I.Kiva, S.Taruta received only neutral messages. V. Zelensky, Y. Tymoshenko, P. Poroshenko, O. Lyashko were mentioned both ironically and in negative colors. The most share of news broadcast time have P. Poroshenko, O. Vilkul, O. Lyashko, Y. Tymoshenko, Y. Boyko. Channels are highly segmented in accordance with their own political preferences.

TOPICS AND MESSAGES. In the second week of February 2019, 28% of news program coverage was related to political events in Ukraine (in February 2018 – 32%, in February 2017 – 40%). ICTV covered the most of them (52% of messages), and 1 + 1 channel was the least inclined to do so (27% of messages). The attention to election campaign 2019 remains at the level of previous research findings (18% of all reports about Ukraine, in 2014 it was also 18%). Inter (27%) drew the highest attention to the topic, “Ukraiina” channel got 26%, 25% went to ICTV channel, and the lowest attention was observed at 1 + 1 (9%) and UA: The First (5%) TV channels.

Election campaigns of Y. Tymoshenko received 3.3% of all reports, O. Vilkul got 2.7% of messages, 2.2% went to P. Poroshenko, O. Lyashko had 2%, A. Gritsenko took over 1.1%. All news of the week mentioned 15 presidential candidates (34% of the registered ones). Among all references to candidates (156), the greatest part of attention was paid to P. Poroshenko – 32%, Y. Tymoshenko – 17%, O. Lyashko – 10%, O. Vilkul – 10%, A. Gritsenko – 8%, Y. Boyko – 6%, V. Zelensky – 6%.

It was reported only positively and neutrally about Y.Boyko (31% of  positive messages among all references to politics) O.Vilkul (8%), it was reported about A.Gritsenko, I.Kiva, S.Taruta only in the neutral context. In addition, each of the following candidates: V. Zelensky (16%), Y. Tymoshenko (7%), P.Poroshenko and O. Lyashko – 5% was mentioned in the ironic or negative context

Direct speech of candidates amounts to 3342 seconds. The share of P.Poroshenko’s direct speech is 28%, O.Vilkul had 19%, O. Lyashko received 16%, Y. Tymoshenko got 12%, Y. Boyko took 11%, A. Gritsenko - 4%, S. Kaplin – 3%, V. Zelensky – 2%. The most frequently mentioned election program points are ones of Y. Tymoshenko (2.9%) and O.Vilkul (2.6%). On UA: The First provided direct speech to I. Kiva, Channel 5 gave it only to P. Poroshenko. ICTV provided the most share of it to Y. Tymoshenko (84 seconds), 1 + 1 provided V. Zelensky 50 seconds of direct speech, “Ukraiina” Channel gave 464 sec. to O.Vilkul, Inter provided Y. Boyko with 378 seconds of direct speech, STB gave 116 seconds to O. Vilkul and P. Poroshenko received 114 seconds of direct speech at this channel.

Interior state policy (11%, 23%), social sphere (11%, 15%), crime (15%, 6%), war in the East (8%, 10%), presidential elections (13%, 5%), international relations (12%, 5%) were the most often mentioned as the main and additional news topics. The share of reportages on countering corruption as the main and additional ones remain fairly the same as in February, 2018 – 6%. News of the week contained the most frequently reported specific events: culture and sports (11%), war in the East (10%), crime, accidents, fires (6%), V. Manger's case (6%) and U. Suprun’s case (5%) of the whole coverage.

WAR IN THE EAST. While covering the martial conflict in Eastern Ukraine, on behalf of Ukrainian side the highest attention was attracted to the state and its bodies – 20% (in February 2018 – 7%), Defense Forces of Ukraine – 12% (12% in February 2018). On behalf of another party, the attention was paid to Russia and its governing institutions – 12% (8% in February 2018). Minsk agreements were mentioned in 5% of messages, (3% in February 2018), The Normandy format was hardly mentioned (0.2%, in February last year it was 0.4%). The initiative on involving the UN peacekeeper forces in Donbass were discussed as well as in 2018 at the level of 1%.

OPINION BALANCE. 20% of messages in general indicated several points of view (in February 2018 – 15%). Most of them were broadcast by UA: The First – 33%, and the least by “Ukraiina” TV channel – 10% and ICTV – 11%. The share of broadcast news including multiple opinions while covering scandal and sensitive events is immensely growing; for example, “The Case of U. Suprun” – 77%, “Monetization of Subsidies” – 67%, “Church Protests” – 67%.

POLITICAL PARTIES AND ACTORS. The attention to political parties, political figures, political institutions made up 20%, 41%, 78% respectively (in February 2018 - 19%, 36%, 78%). Among the political institutes most often were mentioned the goverment departments – 34% (last February 33%), court and the judicial system – 21% (last year 17%), the President and local authorities – 13%. Doubtful and negative evaluations are most often addressed to Constitutional and Supreme Courts – 50% and local authorities – 33% (in 2018 – 21%).

The leaders of political organizations in news programs of February are the Radical Party of O. Lyashko – 6%, Motherland (“Batkivshchyna”) – 3%, Opposition platform - For life (“Opozytsiyna platforma – Za Zhyttya”) – 2%. Radical Party of O. Lyashko was evaluated most positively in 6% of messages, and the most negative percentage (1.5%) received the coalition.

Among the politicians, the most attention is paid to P.Poroshenko is 9% (in February of last year - 8%), V. Manger and U. Suprun - 6%. Y. Tymoshenko, V. Groysman, I. Mossiychuk – 5% for each. Most critical evaluations were given to I. Kolomoisky (100% of ironic and negative assessments), V. Menger (64% of such assessments), Y.Rischuk – 50%, U. Suprun – 47% (50% in February last year).

In news of the second week of February, the highest share of direct speech was provided to P.Poroshenko (897 sec.) – 13% of the total direct speech of politicians, O. Vilkul (644 sec.) – 9%, O. Lyashko (548 sec.) – 8%, V. Groisman (420 sec.), Y. Tymoshenko (415 seconds), U. Suprun (412 seconds) – 6% for each one.

According to AUP’s monitoring, political parties and movements received the following percentage of news coverage from Ukrainian TV channels in February 2019: the ruling coalition – 43%, democratic opposition – 25%, opposition - 10%, others – 22% (last February 47%, 15%, 10%, 28% respectively). The most attention to the opposition is paid by Inter and "Ukraiina" – 17%, and the least by UA: The First – 3%. Direct speech is distributed as follows: the ruling coalition – 40% democratic opposition – 24%, opposition – 22%, others – 14% (in February 2018 – 41%, 16%, 27%, 17% respectively). UA: The First did not provide direct speech to the Opposition, and “Ukraine” provided the highest share of direct speech to Democratic opposition - 35%. Inter, more than other channels, gave direct speech to the Opposition – 37%. Channel 5 preferred the representatives of ruling coalition, giving them 55% of all direct speech.

Among Ukraine’s political parties, the highest attention was drawn to the representatives of P. Poroshenko Bloc - 25% (in February 2018 – 27%), central government - 15% (in February 2018 - 10%), the Radical Party of O. Lyashko - 10%, People’s Front Party (“Narodnyi Front”) and Batkivshchyna party - 6%, Opposition Platform - For Life - 5%, Opposition bloc - Peace and Development Party – 4%, Party “Servant of the People (“Sluha narodu”) and Civic Position (“Hromadyans’ka Pozytsiya”) – 3% for each one.

The largest share of direct speech received the President and representatives of P. Poroshenko’s Bloc – 29% (in February 2018 – 23%), Radical Party of O. Lyashko – 11%, Opposition bloc - Peace and Development Party – 10%, Opposition Platform - For Life – 8%, Batkivshchyna – 6%, Hromadianska Pozytsiya – 2%, Party “Sluha Narodu” – 1%. Representatives of the Radical Party of O. Lyashko have the largest share of direct speech at “Ukraiina” TV channel – 24% (in average 11%), members of Batkivshchyna received 10% of direct speech at STB channel (in average 6%), the Opposition Platform - For Life had the most direct speech at Inter – 25% (in average 8%), Opposition Bloc - Party of Peace and Development got more direct speech at “Ukraiina” TV channel – 26% (in average 10%).

You can find all the detailed information for the above research on the AUP site

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The monitoring became possible due to the financial support of the Embassy of the Great Britain in Ukraine as part of the project "Monitoring of Ukrainian TV news during Presidential Election Campaign", conducted by the Academy of Ukrainian Press. The views expressed in the materials belong to their authors and may not coincide with the official position of the Government of the Great Britain.