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May 16, 2022

Survey: Owners and advertising call the tune in mass-media

Romanian media channels’ editorial content is under the direct influence of media owners and advertising contracts, a survey taken by the US Institute for Public Relations and the Forum for International Communications published on the pr-romania.ro website suggests. The institute polled a total of 68 national and local journalists and 128 PR practitioners online, using on the methodology provided by the Institute for Public Relations of the US, in the period from February 2009 through to February 2010.

A total of 35.4 per cent of the interviewed journalists admit to editorial content being generally influenced by advertisers, aspect that is also verified by 30 per cent of polled PR professionals. A significant influence is also exerted by media owners – 50.8 per cent of the journalists and 44 per cent of the PR people confirming that.

“The practice of direct or indirect payoffs for the media deprives the public of the reliable information they need for personal or collective decision-making. It looks like a frequent practice that PR practitioners pay journalists, editors or publishers in order for them to agree to publish positive coverage on a specific company and its goods or simply to present ready-made material received from PR departments as information of public interest. There are local editorial offices to which it has become such a natural thing to do that people no longer grasp the immorality of it,” the US institute’s survey quoted by Mediafax states.

The survey notes that guised advertising emerges in Romania in a variety of shapes: pressure put by media trusts’ sales departments on the editorial agenda, news prioritisation according to financial benefits offered by various PR people or guising advertising material as regular press reports.

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