September 17th, 2008

“Khalg” Newspaper Chief Editor Hasan Hasanov called the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety today to express his dissatisfaction with the results of IRFS’ media monitoring which were unveiled yesterday.

Hasanov claimed that the media monitoring was not based on any criteria. He said the newspaper he directs does not present Aliyev as candidate, but only gives coverage of Aliyev’s work as the incumbent president. Hasanov added that all of the information is from the state news agency “Azertag.”

According to Hasanov, the articles in the newspaper “Azerbayjan” and “Khalg” are exactly the same, however in IRFS’ results it is reported that in “Khalg” Newspaper’s coverage of political actors and nominees in this election was 100% limited to Ilham Aliyev, while in “Azerbayjan” this figure was only 97%. 

“In our charts it is indicated that in Khalq 100% of the space allocated to Ilham Aliyev is as incumbent president,” Jafarov told Hasanov. “We are also aware that this information belongs to Azertag, however it is being placed in your newspaper. Regarding percents, ‘Azerbayjan’ Newspaper is publishing the decisions of Central Election Commission to register other candidates, that is to say, giving other candidates concrete space. However in your newspaper, this is not observed, only the decision approving Ilham Aliyev’s candidacy was published in its entirety.”

IRFS Media Monitor Rasul Jafarov told Hasanov that IRFS is using a special methodology. This methodology was developed by the Slovak media monitoring organization MEMO 98 and has been used around the world. Jafarov also noted that figures lower than one percent are not reflected in the graphs and stressed that the results are accurate.

IRFS’ media monitoring report can be read here: http://www.irfs.az/content/view/1275/28/lang,eng/

The graph’s from IRFS’ monitoring can be viewed here:www.irfs.az (click on the pdfs “Newspaper Total” and “Newspaper Space & Tone”)