During the first 15 days of August, the most read Montenegrin portals (six of them) published 627 articles mentioning the Democratic Party of Socialists (Demokratska partija socijalista). Out of them, 63.4 percent were negative, 19.9 percent were neutral while 16.7 percent were positive. In the same period, 284 articles mentioning the list For the future of Montenegro (Za budućnost Crne Gore) were registered, out of which 47.8 percent were positive, 39.2 were neutral and 13 percent were negative.

The Digital Forensic Center carried out a monitoring of the articles about the electoral lists on the news portals and posts on Facebook in order to determine their presence, key topics in the articles and their social media reach.

From August 1 to 15, we registered the articles mentioning parties and/or their representatives on six most visited Montenegrin news portals in the previous month, according to our data: Vijesti, CDM, In4S, RTCG, Antena M and Borba.

Monitoring demonstrated that the majority of the articles on news portals (627 of them) were about the list Decisively for Montenegro – DPS Milo Djukanovic (Odlučno za Crnu Goru – DPS Milo Đukanović), out of which 398 were negative, 124 were neutral while 105 of them were positive. When it comes to the number of articles on the portals, the majority of those mentioning the DPS and its leaders in any context were registered on the news portals IN4S, Borba and Vijesti. The news portal In4S had 160 articles. Out of them, 153 were negative, six were neutral and only one article was positive. On the news portal Borba, the DPS and its representatives were mentioned in negative context 107 times, 21 articles were neutral while there were no positive articles. On the news portal Vijesti, the DPS had 66 negative, 26 neutral and 15 positive articles.

During the monitoring period, In4S had the highest number of the op-eds on the upcoming elections while the majority of those targeted the government. Out of those articles, the following stand out: The opposition may defeat Milo if united and Montenegrins bit the hand that educated them. In4S and Borba republished the information of the Belgrade-based news portal Glas javnosti (the Voice of the public) that a great electoral fraud is being prepared and that the authorities are bringing the Albanians from Kosovo to vote for the DPS using false identity documents. The negative narratives published on the news portal Vijesti on the DPS and its representatives are usually taken from the press releases of the opposition parties, stating that the ruling party is blackmailing the voters and buying IDs as well as that the DPS has never been more vulnerable and endangered.

The second most mentioned party in the articles and posts is the coalition around the Democratic Front (Za budućnost Crne Gore), with the majority of articles in the positive context – 136, 111 were neutral, and 37 articles about this list and its representatives were negative. The majority of the articles about that electoral list in the monitoring period were on the news portals In4S and Borba. Out of 70 published articles on the news portal In4S, 60 were positive, eight were neutral and two were negative while Borba published 44 positive articles about that list, 22 neutral articles and no negative articles. Out of the positive articles about the great people’s coalition on the portal In4S, the op-eds stand out again. Hence, in the text For the future of Montenegro, the leaders of this coalition are commended since they succeeded to unite and it is also stated that the opposition is close to the electoral victory. The key message of the article is that Montenegro deserves to (re)animate and the precondition for that would be that the people vote for themselves and the future of Montenegro. The news portal Borba mostly reported on the statements and announcements of the chief candidate of the list For the future of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapic, in which this coalition is presented as a defender of the shrines and the focus is on the abolition Law on Freedom of Religion and Belief after the regime change.

The list „Mir je naša nacija” (“Peace is our nation“) is on the third place for the number of articles (158) while the coalition „Crno na bijelo” (“It’s in black and white“) comes right after it with 154 articles. The list leaded by the Democratic Montenegro had 67 positive and neutral articles respectively while 24 articles were negative. The list „It’s in black and white“ had 79 positive articles, 63 neutral ones and 12 negative on all monitored news portals. Both lists had the most articles on the news portal Vijesti (Peace is our nation – 44, It’s in black and white – 43).

The list SDP – Strong Montenegro had 141 articles out of which 72 were positive, 53 were neutral and 16 were negative while the list SD – Ivan Brajovic – We decide CONSISTENTLY had 111 articles out of which 54 were positive, 30 were neutral and 27 were negative.

It is noticeable that the news portals dedicated much less attention to the national minorities’ parties. Therefore, there were 40 articles about the list of the Bosniak Party (Bošnjačka stranka), while the Croatian Citizens’ Initiative (Hrvatska građanska inicijativa) and the Albanian List – Genci Nimanbegu and Nik Gjeloshaj (Albanska lista – Gneci Nimanbegu i Nik Đeljošaj) had 28 articles respectively, the Croatian Reform Party (Hrvatska reformska stranka) had 27 articles and the least articles, only 19, had the Albanian Coalition – Unanimously (Albanska koalicija – Jednoglasno).

The most present topics in the articles on the news portals were identity issues, the Law on Freedom of Religion and Belief, healthcare and the measures of the National Coordination Body (NKT), crime and corruption, economy, youth and education.

More than 3.6k of the Facebook posts concern the elections

In the monitoring period, we registered more than 3.6k of the posts concerning elections in Facebook groups and pages. The posts had more than 880k of interactions (shares, likes, comments etc.)

Out of the monitored news portals, Borba had the most posts about the elections on its Facebook page – 231, then comes In4S with 184, Antena M with 84 while Vijesti had 76, RTCG had 51 and CdM had 25 posts.

The pages and groups which mostly shared the posts of the news portals on Facebook were: Srpski Herceg Novi, Pleme Vasojevići, Srpsko-rusko bratstvo – duhovno i istorijsko, Ne u NATO, Srpska Crna Gora, Crna Gora – Srpska Sparta, Ludački pokret Ne damo svetinje, Svetosavski pokret Crne Gore, Srbi u Crnoj Gori, Podrška mitoropolitu crnogorsko-primorskom g. Amfilohiju Radoviću, Nikšić ponosni srpski grad and Glas naroda u Republici Srpskoj. These pro-Serbian pages and groups mostly shared the articles from the portals In4S and Borba which demonstrates that they are more active on Facebook in this context than the pro-Montenegrin pages where we have not registered more significant sharing of the content from the monitored news portals.

For a complete presentation of the monitoring, click here.