Czech presidential elections in the European media
The Czech presidential elections gained place not only in the Czech media but also abroad. How did the Slovakian, Polish, Croatian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Serbian and Bosnian media reported about the elections? Thanks to our colleagues from NEWTON Media branches located across Central and Southeast Europe, we are bringing you a complex analysis of the media coverage of Miloš Zeman and Jiří Drahoš, the winners of the first round, in context of the elections.
Most media coverage: during the first and second round of elections
The European media in terms of the presidential elections in the Czech Republic mostly reported about the results of the first and the second round and described the elections as important because they reflect current polarization across Europe. Even though the vast majority of media content is of an informative nature reporting on the campaign and on the results of the first and second round with no further analysis of their impact on the European politics, media in the countries that are geographically closest, Slovakia and Poland, were also interested in the future direction of the Czech republic.
Media noticed: characteristics, experiences, and opinions of the candidates, their opponents and supporters, unforeseen incidents
Apart from the election results, media also reported on the different characteristics and political experience of the candidates, their view on foreign policy (Russia, China, EU, etc.), and their supporters (Babiš, SPD, the communists, artists, elite, etc.). Another story heavily featured by the media was the "attack" on Zeman carried out by Angelina Diash, a Femen activist from Ukraine, during the first round of the election, and the incident following Zeman's victory, which involved members of his security team and journalists that were present at the time.Graph shows top topics mentioned with single candidates. To see full size graph, click on the attachment bellow this analysis. Source: Archive NEWTON Media, a. s.
Media profile of the candidates: most similar in the neighbouring countries
The largest coverage of the Czech elections was in the Slovak media due to the historical connection between the countries. Furthermore, the media profiles of both Miloš Zeman and Jiří Drahoš in Slovakia most resembled the ones in the Czech media. In comparison to the rest of the countries, Slovak and Polish media offered more detailed analysis of the political experience and the past of the candidates and also referred to the presidential debates with a special focus on the misinformation and hoaxes connected to them. Alongside the election results, the fact that the Czechs have similar views on certain issues as the Poles – they are against the strong influence of the EU institutions but they also do not want to be perceived as the periphery of Europe – resonated quite a lot in the Polish media.
Sympathy for Zeman in Serbia, special Bosnian correspondent in Prague
Overall, there were more articles referring to Miloš Zeman than to his rival candidate, which could be due to the the Zeman’s previous presidential term and his controversial opinions on foreign policy. Even though most media informed about the elections in a balanced and neutral tone, a slight favourable bias towards the elected president, Miloš Zeman, was noticeable in the Serbian media. That was primarily caused by Zeman’s views on the status of the Serbian Province of Kosovo and Metohija, the general relations between the Czech Republic and Serbia as well as the positive attitude towards Serbia’s traditional allies, i.e. Russia and China. Zeman is perceived by the Serbians as a friend who shares their believe in no interventions in the internal affairs of other states. Besides highlighting Zeman’s views, the Serbian media also published an interview with Emir Kusturica, a famous Serbian film director and Prague film school alumni, in which he stated that: "The Czechs are not stupid, they will vote for Zeman."
Graph shows the share of medialization for each candidate. Source: Archive NEWTON Media, a. s.
Another thing worth noticing is the difference in the coverage in the media of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the neighbouring country of Serbia. Local media reported about the elections much more that the media in other countries, but in contrast to Serbia with no noticeable support to any of the candidates. The Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje daily (one of three most popular dailies in BiH’s entity BiH Federation) even had their own reporter in Prague, covering the elections. Both Serbian and Bosnian media used strong designations when describing the two candidates: the Serbian tabloid newspaper Blic wrote that Zeman has proven to be the “European Trump”, while Drahoš was described by the Bosnian media as the “new Masaryk”.
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