weCAN Digest May 2020

Media monitoring of the latest news about the media and advertising markets of Central and Eastern Europe

Advertising with authentic empathy during COVID-19
Brands should continue to advertise during this time, but what messages should they be communicating? Research from Kantar and Affectiva for a recent webinar reveals what to do – and what not to do.

RSF 2020 Index: Eastern Europe and Central Asia – clampdown continues
Behind the lack of any major movement by the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in the latest World Press Freedom Index, there are disturbing signs. The increasing expertise in new technologies that the region’s authoritarian or unstable regimes are acquiring could result in more censorship of the media. The regional heavyweights, Moscow and Ankara, continue to set a bad example.

Survey shows Postimees as Estonia’s most trusted private media channel
Postimees is the most trusted private media channel for residents of Estonia in the current crisis, while overall, the list is topped by public ETV television and the news portal of public broadcaster ERR, it appears from a survey carried out by Kantar Emor.
Apr 1

Pro-govt Hungarian businessman buys huge stake in top Hungarian news portal Index
Hungarian businessman Miklós Vaszily, the chairman of pro-government TV2, said on Tuesday he had bought a 50% stake in Indamedia, a holding company which controls the advertising revenue channels for independent news site Index.hu reports Reuters.
Apr 1

Fake News or the Truth? Russia Cracks Down on Virus Postings
Two weeks ago, an opposition-leaning radio station in Russia interviewed political analyst Valery Solovei, who alleged the government was lying when it said no one had died in the country from the coronavirus.
Apr 1

Radio Free Europe rebrands in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will soon relaunch service in Hungary after opening offices in Romania and Bulgaria in 2019. The challenges that the US government broadcaster faces in Central and Eastern Europe are huge.
Apr 2

Serbia to revoke coronavirus information control decree after criticism
Serbia’s government will revoke a decree giving it control over information on the coronavirus outbreak, following protests and the detention of a journalist for reporting a major hospital lacked protective gear and properly trained staff.
Apr 2

Slovakia opens 700MHz auction; 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum also on the block
Slovakia’s Regulatory Office (Regulacny Urad, RU) has invited applications for its planned auction of 5G-capable spectrum in the 700MHz band as well as frequencies in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands.
Apr 2

Why is there an unstable growth of e-commerce in Serbia during the pandemic?
Consumers’ distrust, as one of the crucial stumbling blocks for e-commerce, seems to have been overcome easily during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the distribution remains a challenge. Closing of retail facilities and isolation of consumers, significantly affected the buyers’ behaviour, as, over this period, they have been turning to online shopping more than ever before.
Apr 2

Twitter Removes Thousands Of Accounts ‘Promoting’ Serbian Ruling Party
Twitter says it has removed more than 8,000 fake accounts allegedly linked to Serbia’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and its leader, President Aleksandar Vucic.
Apr 2

Serbian journalist arrested for reporting on difficult working conditions of medical staff in COVID-19 pandem
A journalist of Serbian Nova.rs portal Ana Lalić was arrested on Wednesday evening on charges of causing panic and unrest for reporting on the difficult situation in the Clinical Centre of Vojvodina (KCV). She was ordered a 48-hour arrest pending interrogation by a prosecutor, but was released on Thursday morning.
Apr 2

Role of Croatian media one of reasons why fight against coronavirus is successful, says head of hospital for infectious diseases
The head of Zagreb’s Fran Mihaljevic Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotic, has said that Croatian media have been informing the public about the coronavirus epidemic professionally, which is an important reason why the fight against the disease has been successful.
Apr 3

Press freedom must not be undermined by measures to counter disinformation about COVID-19
“The global health problems caused by COVID-19 require effective measures to protect people’s health and lives. This includes combating disinformation that may cause panic and social unrest. Regrettably some governments are using this imperative as a pretext to introduce disproportionate restrictions to press freedom; this is a counterproductive approach that must stop. Particularly in times of crisis, we need to protect our precious liberties and rights,” said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović.
Apr 3

Corona crisis as a test of agile advertising. Are you future-proof?
Marketers’ dilemmas from last year seem to disappear. When reach building is cost effective and relatively easy, people’s engagement guaranteed and only 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising – some CMOs consider to be silent and everyone is expecting drop in the advertising business.
Apr 6

Ex-soldier jailed for double murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and fiancee
A court in Slovakia has sentenced a former soldier to 23 years in prison for the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová, in February 2018.
Apr 6

US Embassy in Ukraine calls on Russia to stop blocking Ukrainian media resources
Residents of the occupied Crimea and Donbas deserve access to independent media, so Russia should stop blocking Ukrainian media resources on Ukrainian territory, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said.
Apr 6

Watchdog to ask €1.6m in support for commercial media
Latvia’s broadcast watchdog, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) has prepared a policy document that asks for about €1.6 million in support for commercial media, which are seeing huge losses in advertising revenue during the Covid-19 crisis.
Apr 6

Not Always Selfless
The country has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of giving in to it, it has helped others, instead of thinking only about itself – in times of coronavirus China has consistently built its positive image. And to those who persistently repeat that it all started in Wuhan, China suggests asking: “did it really?”
Apr 6

TV viewing shoots up in Czech Republic
TV viewing increased significantly in the Czech Republic since the first two weeks of national quarantine. According to Parabola, quoting data produced by Atmedia, it was 33% higher than in the same period last year.
Apr 7

Puntulis: Media will have to compete for money allocated due to Covid-19 crisis
Puntulis explained that the government had made a “very important decision” on Tuesday to support the media due to the crisis caused by Covid-19.
Apr 7

Hungary: Law to fight coronavirus creates ‘uncertainty’ for journalists
A law that holds a prison sentence of up to five years for spreading “false information” is part of new measures against COVID-19. As Fanny Facsar reports, journalists fear it could make it even harder to report news.
Apr 7

PM believes media in Serbia which point at omissions hate country and its people
Do Serbia’s media which report critically and point at the system’s shortcomings during the state of emergency hate their country as Prime Minister Ana Brnabic believes and what the journalists’ associations and media professionals describe as a campaign against freedom of speech with the message that the truth cannot be hidden for a long time.
Apr 8

Bosnia Trying to Censor Information About Pandemic, Journalists Say
Serb-led entity has been urged to withdraw new decree banning the spread of panic – as journalists’ union complains of repeated moves in the country to censor information about COVID-19 under the guise of preventing misinformation.
Apr 8

Ukraine: Coronavirus and the media
As elsewhere, Covid-19 has affected every area of life in Ukraine and the story now completely dominates the news agenda there. EJO’s Ukrainian editor looks at how journalists are responding to the challenges posed by reporting on the crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Apr 8

Anything Can Happen
The current COVID-19 pandemic fully illustrates where Hungary has moved under Viktor Orbán over the last decade. It shows how independent Hungarian media do not have access to official information, how military uniforms have become the norm in the country, and also how little Hungarians are interested in the issue of increasing Chinese influence.
Apr 9

Slovak news crews hailed for COVID-19 coverage
Coronavirus disinformation is rife in Slovakia — but the public still turns to traditional media for verified news at a time of crisis.
Apr 9

The Need for Information Sovereignty
As the world braces itself for the rapidly descending economic hit to come, a review and reinforcement of media structures cannot be overlooked. Only resilient business models and a healthy public sphere will maintain information sovereignty for democracies.
Apr 9

Croatian police dance a hit on social media
Two Croatian police officers have accepted the Foot Shake Dance Oh Na Na Na Challenge and quickly became a hit on social media. The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia posted the clip of two traffic police officers in the city of Pula doing the dance and it quickly became a hit on Twitter.
April 11

Ruling SDS Criticised for Attacks on Mainstream Media in Slovenia
• Govt points to ex regime in response to CoE criticism of pressure on media in Slovenia
• SDS under fire following dispatch about communist origins of Slovenian media
• MEPs defend freedom of press, disagree over communist media dispatch
Apr 10

New threats to the media sector in Romania
Romania’s Government is preparing a mechanism to send state employees into technical unemployment for limited periods of time during the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures were decided by PM Ludovic Orban‘s government without any consultation of workers’ representative organisations, in total disregard of social dialogue. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its Romanian affiliate FAIR-MediaSind in condemning such unilateral decision.
Apr 10

Russia’s state-backed media among Europe’s press using coronavirus to spin anti-Western views
After a Russian military contingent with medical equipment arrived in Rome last month, the Kremlin’s English-language media outlets RT and Sputnik found video gold.
Apr 13

Publicis Groupe Holdings seeks anti-trust nod to lift stake in Bulgaria’s Publicis
Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition said on Monday that Dutch-based Publicis Groupe Holdings is seeking approval to increase its stake in Bulgarian advertising and public relations company Publicis.
Apr 13

Lithuanian operators stop advertising in lockdown
The Lithuanian Gambling Business Association and National Gambling and Games Business Association have asked their members to stop advertising online gambling during the country’s national lockdown caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Apr 14

Moscow rolls out digital tracking to enforce lockdown. Critics dub it a ‘cyber Gulag’
Moscow has introduced a digital tracking system to enforce a coronavirus lockdown — but critics say the technology represents an unprecedented threat to privacy.
Apr 14

15 “lockdown” violations of freedom of expression recorded in Ukraine – IMI
During March and April, Institute of Mass Information NGO recorded 15 violations of the freedom of speech related to lockdown measures started because of coronavirus pandemic.
Apr 14

NJORD Estonia: Advertising requirements in Estonia and COVID-19’s impact
The COVID-19 crisis has spread more or less all over the world and it affects a lot of companies. They are the ones who lose employees and clients due to COVID-19. Despite that, companies need to survive the crisis and keep their clients.
Apr 14

Will breaching EU sanctions be the end for Kremlin media in Baltics? – Investigation
An alleged breach of EU sanctions, and a possible fine of up to 10 million euros, casts doubt on the future of Baltic Media Alliance, one of the largest media holdings in the Baltic countries focusing on local Russian-speaking audiences.
Apr 15


COVID-19 response in Bulgaria should not curb media freedom, says OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, expressed his concerns today about Bulgaria’s draft legislation that would criminalize the spread of “internet misinformation”. Punishment includes fines of up to 1,000 euros and even imprisonment of up to three years.
Apr 15

COVID-19 pandemic shifts consumer spending habits in Bulgaria – Revolut
Consumer spending behaviour in Bulgaria has shifted due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, with online merchants seeing the biggest spike in demand, UK-based fintech company Revolut said on Wednesday.
Apr 15

How to minimize the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on your media business: available in 8 languages
MDIF’s recommendations to media businesses on steps they can take to limit losses and give direction to their business decisions during the COVID-19 crisis are now available in 8 languages.
Apr 15

Željko Bodrožić: the state of emergency smothers the Serbian media
According to Željko Bodrožić, president of the Association of Independent Journalists of Serbia (NUNS), the state of emergency has only worsened the situation of non-aligned media, often subject to the discredit of the media controlled by power
Apr 17

Slovenian media fear fallout from government virus campaign
The new government of Slovenia’s conservative Prime Minister Janez Jansa has so far kept the coronavirus under control — but critics fear he will exploit the crisis to bring to heel the media he brands “presstitution”.
Apr 19

Advertising in the age of COVID-19
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced immediate, far-reaching lifestyle shifts for American consumers. In fact, it’s unlikely that consumers’ lives will return to normal in the near future.
Apr 20

EU asked to form an emergency fund to support media and journalism
European Union should immediately form an emergency fund to support media and journalism, says Latvian MEP Dace Melbārde. According to her, mass media sector is more important than it has ever been. However, at the moment this sector is in critical state. This is why the EU should form an emergency fund – a news media programme, as well as introduce a number of other mechanisms to prevent the deaths of good media, says the politician.
Apr 20

Russia: Kremlin Dismisses Threats Against Newspaper
Last week, the Kremlin’s spokesperson dismissed a grave threat by Chechnya’s governor, Ramzan Kadyrov, against an independent outlet, Novaya Gazeta, Human Rights Watch said today.
Apr 21

Chinese state firm gets a majority stake in Czech media advertising agency
Chinese state-run financial group CITIC has acquired a majority stake in Médea, one of the largest media agencies in the Czech Republic. Analysts say this could have a chilling effect on news that is critical of China, as news outlets may be wary of losing advertising revenue.
Apr 22

Hungary’s DC Ambassador Back in Budapest to Run Pro-Orban Media Group
Hungary’s ambassador to Washington has stepped down and returned to Budapest on short notice to take charge of a beefed up messaging operation in support of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling party.
Apr 22

Fake news on NATO withdrawal from Lithuania sent to media, Brussels
A falsified email from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on alleged withdrawal of allied troops from Lithuania is being sent out across Lithuania, as well as to Brussels, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
Apr 22

How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the prices of online advertising
When it comes to investing in online advertising, the tourism and travel industries have been at the top for years. COVID-19 affected these two industries especially, since all activities related to them are halted on a global scale.
Apr 22

Why Serbian Media Scorned a Peace Message from Srebrenica
When the Srebrenica Memorial Centre paid tribute to Serb, Roma, Jewish and other victims of World War II, some Serbian media were quick to accuse it of actually being anti-Serb.
Apr 23

Slump in ads and newsstand sales. Coronavirus impacts media business in Slovakia
Two weeks after coronavirus measures were put in place in Slovakia, the Trend business weekly laid off about one-quarter of its editorial staff. The official reason was a slump in its advertising incomes due to the coronavirus pandemic and a need to cut expenses.
Apr 23

Milanović Endorses Proposals for Helping Journalists and Media
Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Thursday met with Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND) president Hrvoje Zovko and the leader of the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists, Maja Sever, who informed him of their proposals for helping media outlets affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Apr 23

Slovenia consumer confidence hits record low in April
Slovenian consumer confidence indicator plunged to an all-time low in April, dragged down 30 percentage points from its March level by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Statistics Bureau of Slovenia (SURS) says.
Apr 24

Estonian leading newspaper distancing itself from calls for state aid to media
In Estonia, the leading daily on the market has cited concerns of journalistic independence as it distanced itself from the calls by a newspaper association for state aid as the crisis endangers the operation of media, ERR reports.
Apr 24

Commissioner contacts Slovenian authorities over media freedom
European Commission vice-president and Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova announced today she had contacted Slovenian authorities over the media freedom situation in the country. “No hate, no threats, no personal attacks,” reads part of Jourova’s message to the government.
Apr 25

Romania: Media industry to receive 200 million-lei grant to launch COVID-19 communication campaign
In an effort to help the Romanian press cope with the crisis caused by the coronavirus, the government will be allocating a total of 200 million lei to launch a communication campaign on tackling the spread of COVID-19, which will take place over the next four months according to reports. The funds will be shared between television, electronic and local press.
Apr 27

Coronavirus in Russia: Anti-government protests go online
Measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus mean Russians can’t take to the streets. But as the economic fallout from the pandemic hits, some are finding creative ways to express their anger at the government.
Apr 27

Polish media under the pandemic: fears over financial future and political interference
While news media across the world have seen a surge in online readership and subscriptions during the pandemic, they have also experienced an even sharper fall in advertising and print sales. The result has been a crisis for many parts of the industry.
Apr 28

Polish media under the pandemic: fears over financial future and political interference

Golden Age of Fake News
The COVID-19 pandemic struck the world unexpectedly and presented a unique opportunity for nature to cleanse itself and catch its breath. However, the pandemic’s consequences are catastrophic for humanity.
Apr 28

Poland set for VOD tax
The Polish government is preparing an “anti-crisis shield” measure that will see providers of on demand services in the country pay 1.5% of their revenues to the Polish Film Institute (PISF). According to Wirtualne Media, this would result in the PISF receiving around PLN15 million (€3.3 million) this year and a minimum of PLN20 million in subsequent years.
Apr 29

2020 Annual Report: Attacks on media in Europe must not become a new normal
Attacks on press freedom in Europe are at serious risk of becoming a new normal, 14 international press freedom groups and journalists’ organisations, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), warn today as they launch the 2020 annual report of the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalists. The fresh assault on media freedom amid the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened an already gloomy outlook.
Apr 29

Romanian Church condemns posters depicting doctors and nurses as saints
Romania’s Orthodox Church said on Wednesday a series of outdoor posters depicting nurses and doctors on the frontlines of the new coronavirus outbreak as saints were blasphemous and an insult to Christian iconography.
Apr 29

Apple rolls out Search Ads in Russia
Apple has finally launched its App Store Search Ads in Russia. Developers can use Search Ads to promote their apps to potential users. To mark the launch, developers in Russia will get a $100 credit when they create a new Search Ads account.
Apr 29

Censorship row threatens Russia’s top business newspaper
A row over censorship has plunged Russia’s top business newspaper into a crisis that could either see it fall under the Kremlin’s control or torpedo a deal to sell it, leaving it on the verge of bankruptcy.
Apr 29

BH Journalists: Official linked to Chinese ventilator deal is attacking media
Bosnia’s Journalist Association slammed on Thursday the request made by an official linked to the suspicious import of Chinese ventilators for prosecutors to probe media that reported on the deal.
Apr 30

Ekspress Group sees digital revenue Q1 2020 growth but makes losses
Ekspress Group, one of Estonia’s two major private sector media groups, has seen growth in revenue of 2 percent on year in the first quarter of 2020 (Q1 2020), the company says. However, the company still went into the red over the same period, though it says this is largely due to seasonal factors, aside from the coronavirus pandemic’s effects.
Apr 30

Courious about the CEE media and advertising markets? Check out our blog for further information!

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