Media NGOs call on authorities to make public all factual and legal circumstances underpinning the CES Decision that introduced restrictions for certain media service providers.
On 16 December 2022, the Commission for Exceptional Situations (CES) of the Republic of Moldova ordered to suspend the broadcasting license of six television broadcasters (Primul în Moldova, RTR Moldova, Accent TV, NTV Moldova, TV6, Orhei TV) for ‘inaccurate coverage of national events, as well as of the war in Ukraine’. The arguments invoked to justify this decision: (1) several individuals and/or legal entities subject to international sanctions exercise control over the TV stations falling within the restrictions (2) the Broadcasting Council (BC) monitored and sanctioned TV stations for inaccurate coverage of national events, as well as of the war in Ukraine.
License suspension, as a restrictive measure taken by CES, is acceptable if there are serious, compelling, duly justified and substantiated grounds. However now it is impossible to evaluate the proportionality of interference and legitimacy of the aim pursued because of the lack of explicit, clear and detailed information that would confirm the control exercised over the six broadcasters by a person included in the list of international sanctions. In addition, the CES decision does not provide accurate information about the sanctions applied previously by BC against each of the media service providers concerned.
The signatory NGOs recognize the need to implement urgent measures to ensure the information security of the Republic of Moldova, which is subject to real dangers triggered by the subversive actions of an aggressor state, as well as of certain organizations and individuals. The restrictive measures should be, however, substantiated by persuasive arguments and strong evidence, and implemented in a way that would eliminate any doubts about the legality and proportionality of interferences.
Media NGOs reiterate that the principle of media ownership transparency is enshrined in the law, and the public has the legitimate right to know the information about the beneficial owners of media service providers located in the jurisdiction of the Republic of Moldova.
To eliminate wrong and biased interpretations and to bring more clarity, the signatory organizations require that all factual and legal circumstances underpinning the CES Decision be disclosed to the public.
Independent Journalism Center
Media Guard Association
Association of Electronic Press
Center for Investigative Journalism