Monthly Bulletin, April 2022


IJC launches Press Freedom Days 2022 with the #StopTheWar

On May 3, the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) launched the Press Freedom Days under the theme #StopTheWar, highlighting the crucial role of objective, fact-based journalism.

Through this year’s event, the organizers recognize the merits of journalists who serve the public interest and promote human rights, as well as those who cover the war in Ukraine from the ground and commemorate those colleagues who lost their lives while showing the world the horrors of war and its impact.

On May 3, the IJC organized a flash-mob in front of the Russian Embassy to pay tribute to journalists who were killed while carrying out their mission to inform the public. The event promoted the peace message #Opriti!Razboiul #ОстановитеBойну! #StopWar! and underlined that killing journalists will not hide the horrors of war.

On the same day, the IJC launched an information campaign in which several journalists from Ukraine will talk about how journalism has changed in their country since February 24, 2022, the day the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine.

Also, on May 3, the Memoir on Freedom of the Press from May 3, 2021 to 3 May 2022 was launched. This Memoir highlights the main issues and challenges faced by the media in the Republic of Moldova over the past year.

The agenda of events held by the IJC and other media organizations on Press Freedom Days can be read here.

Explosions in the Transnistrian region reportedly damaged two of Russia’s most powerful radio relay antennas

On April 26, explosions occurred in the village of Maiac in the Grigoriopol district, damaging two antennas that were also retransmitting the signal of radio stations from the Russian Federation, reports. The explosions rendered two of the most powerful antennae – one 1 Megawatt antenna and the other of half a Megawatt – inoperative. Both antennae were retransmitting Russian radio stations.

According to the so-called Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Transnistrian region, no one was hurt. Law enforcement officers cordoned off the territory of the radio and TV center in Maiac, and the military began searching the place.

The Intelligence and Security Service said that it “monitors and informs information recipients in real time, including on policy options in relation to the ever-changing situation.”

Media NGOs call on the mayor of Taraclia to rescind his order banning video and audio recordings in the city hall

According to portal reports, before the meeting of the city council on April 20, 2022, Mayor Veaceslav Lupov tried to prevent the filming and live broadcasting of the meeting, relying on his “provision” banning filming of meetings. Several non-governmental media organizations, including the Independent Journalism Centre, expressed concern about the Taraclia mayor’s action and called for State Chancellery to intervene to annul the administrative acts invoked by the mayor in this regard.

In a joint statement, the signatory organizations recall that the Law on Local Public Administration establishes the public nature of local council meetings and note that restricting access to information of public interest is contrary to the provisions of the Law on Access to Information and Law on Transparency in Decision-making.

“We call on Mayor Lupov to stop intimidating the journalists of the portal and to cancel his manifestly illegal order. We remind Mr. Lupov that intentionally hindering the media or journalistic activity, including using the status of service, is illegal (Criminal Code, Article 180 first),” the statement reads.

Journalist Vladimir Soloviov detained for five hours by Tiraspol’s security forces

Special services on the left bank of the Dniester River detained the special correspondent of the Russian publication Kommersant and founder of NewsMaker, Vladimir Soloviov, for five hours, reports The incident happened in Tighina (Bender) on April 14, where a meeting of the Unified Control Commission (UCC) was held. The delegation from Chisinau condemned the actions of the Transnistrian side and announced the need for an investigation into the case.

The journalist told NewsMaker that he had come to the UCC meeting to discuss the war in Ukraine with the commission members. He said he did not have the special accreditation needed to attend UCC meetings. “I wanted to talk to people I know personally before the meeting,” Soloviov said.

Tromsø convention. The Group of Specialists on Access to Official Documents to the EC has started its work

On March 31, 2022, the meeting of the Parties to the Council of Europe (COE) Convention on Access to Official Documents, known as the Tromsø Convention, selected the ten members of the Group of Specialists on Access to Official Documents, writes the COE. Expert Veronica Cretu was elected as a member from Moldova.

Earlier, in an edition of Media Azi, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the Council of Europe explained the mechanism for assessing our country’s compliance with the right of access to information once the official act enters into force.

The Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents is the first binding international legal instrument that recognizes the general right of access to official documents held by public authorities. The document entered into force on December 1, 2020, and has been ratified by ten countries, including Moldova.

The Broadcasting Council will be reorganized. BC chief says procedure will be launched within a month

The Broadcasting Council (BC) is to be reorganized starting in mid-May, and new hirings will take place within the institution afterwards, the authority’s chairwoman Liliana Vitu told an edition of TVR Moldova’s “Obiectiv Comun.” The head of the body said she wanted to “strengthen” the Council’s monitoring capabilities as well.

Liliana Vitu announced that she had signed an order on April 13, informing the council’s employees that she would start a reorganization of the institution on May 16. “My priority is to strengthen the monitoring department in particular. This is our main function – supervision and control,” Vitu said.

The BC chief added that she expects the institution to become stronger and able to fulfil its mission. “I want to reach the end of my mandate with strong public confidence in this institution. As I said, I think it is one of the weakest institutions in Moldova, at least among the institutions regulating some areas,” Vitu said.

The BC chairwoman also said that there are currently around 50 percent of positions are vacant in the body, and only seven people are in charge of monitoring, even though there should be 14 specialists.

The NIT lost the case against Moldova at the ECtHR. Court found no violation of the right to free expression

In an April 5 decision, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) did not find a violation of the right to freedom of expression or a violation of the right to protection of property in the case of the former TV station NIT against the Republic of Moldova.

According to the ECtHR decision, 14 judges voted in favor that there was no violation of freedom of expression in the case, while three were against. At the same time, 15 judges supported the view that there was no violation of the right to property, with two against it.

The Strasbourg Court recognized that, in a sector as sensitive as the audiovisual media, the state was obliged to put in place an adequate legislative and administrative framework to guarantee real and effective pluralism.

The Court recalled that the national policy on pluralism, promoted by the national authorities and regulated by the 2006 Audiovisual Code of the Republic of Moldova, was positively assessed by the Council of Europe experts.

“In addition, when it comes to audiovisual media, states had a duty to ensure, first, that the public was given access to impartial and accurate information, and to a variety of opinions and comments, presenting, inter alia, the diversity of political views in the country and, second, that journalists and other audiovisual media professionals were not prevented from transmitting such information and comments,” according to the document.

The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on May 11, 2012.

Media outlets further drawn into defamation lawsuits: ‘It’s a concerted attack’

Several media outlets in Moldova say they are having to allocate resources to defend themselves in cases brought against them in court. Several journalists told the IJC’s Freedom of Expression Press Club how complicated it is for the media for the research project “Enforcement of ECtHR judgments in freedom of expression cases.”

The study focused on the analysis of the execution of the ECtHR judgment in the case of RISE Moldova and Iurie Sanduta v. Moldova. During the discussion, Iurie Sanduta, director of RISE Moldova and author of the investigation “Dodon’s money in the Bahamas” – for which he was sued by former Socialist Party Chairman Igor Dodon and his party colleagues – noted that RISE Moldova is currently targeted in six pending cases. In one of them, the journalist says the newsroom wants to send another complaint to Strasbourg, with a submission expected to be filed in the coming months.

Journalist Liuba Sevciuc, co-founder of the CU SENS media project, says her team is also currently embroiled in six lawsuits after publishing two investigations – one about computer purchases at the Ministry of Education during the pandemic, and the second about public-private partnerships implemented by the Chisinau City Hall in which a high school in the capital is targeted.  The editorial staff also sought legal assistance from the Independent Journalism Centre.

The investigative journalist and presenter of TV8’s “Black Box,” Mariana Rata, said that the TV station was involved in more than 40 cases, including for the defense of the honor and dignity of the station’s journalists. Similarly, Jurnal TV’s program director Dumitru Misin noted a large number of cases involving investigative journalists, including those from his TV station. And the project manager of NewsMaker, Jaan Marti Allik, specified that their publication is involved in three lawsuits.

Regional and local TVs not ready to switch to digital terrestrial TV today



May 1 is the deadline for broadcasting analogue TV signals, after which TVs will only be able to broadcast in digital format, as the state had taken responsibility for switching to digital TV as early as 2015.

Media experts note that during this time the TV network and service provider Radiocommunications has managed to create two national digital multiplexes and no regional ones. In this situation, local and regional TV stations say they do not have the money to pay the fee for a place in the national digital multiplex, and viewers who own only old-fashioned TV sets that do not receive the digital signal are left without access to information.

Several regional TV managers – Ana Golubenco, director of Elita TV in Rezina, Andrei Bargan, director of Media TV in Cimislia, Vera Bulgaru, administrator of Drochia TV and Ludmila Topal, president of the Association of Independent Regional Broadcasters from Bas TV in Basarabeasca – say they are not interested in broadcasting on the national multiplex for the time being, where monthly fees can reach up to 5,500 euros. The IJC’s Media Azi portal asked them for their opinions to see whether there are solutions to their problems and how they will operate under the new conditions.

More than 60 percent of respondents to a survey say media literacy protects them from media manipulation, propaganda and misinformation

Some 84 percent of young people believe that “it is important to be able to distinguish between news that has the purpose of manipulation or misinformation in society,” and 61 percent believe that the discipline of Media Literacy, taught in schools, can protect them from such phenomena as media manipulation, propaganda and misinformation, according to the Study on the Evaluation of Media Skills and Media Literacy among Young People in Moldova, conducted by the Centre for Educational and Community Development (CECD). The CECD study was launched on April 13 in Chisinau.

The basic aim of the study is to assess the media skills and media literacy of young people in Moldova for the period 2021-2022.

The authors note that since 2018, the optional subject Media Education has been introduced in high schools, with the support of the Independent Journalism Centre of Moldova. As a result, more than half of those surveyed believe that this discipline can protect them from phenomena such as media manipulation, propaganda and disinformation.

At the same time, they argue that media literacy should be considered a priority and included in the educational curriculum for kindergartens and in the school curriculum for grades 1-12, as well as in the curricula of Moldovan universities.

The study also proposes the establishment of a “hotline” for citizens to report fake news and misinformation and proposes the creation of a common online media literacy resource platform.

Poll// Where do Moldovans get information about the war in Ukraine?

Television remains the main source of information about the war in Ukraine for Moldovans. According to a recent socio-political barometer conducted by the IMAS Company in Chisinau, almost half of the respondents get their information from the official websites and Facebook and Telegram accounts of state institutions. The survey data was presented on April 20.

According to the survey, almost 80 percent of respondents answered that they follow events in Ukraine, while 20 percent said they do not inform themselves about them. Television remains the leading source of information, accounting for 80 percent of respondents. Discussions with relatives, friends, colleagues and acquaintances are in second place, with an equally high share (76 percent).

Online media (TV sites, news portals, newspaper websites, etc.) were indicated by 71 percent of respondents, and social networks (Facebook, Odnoklassniki, Twitter and others) – by 63 percent. Radio stations are a source of information about events in the neighboring country for 33 percent of citizens, and print media (newspapers, magazines) are in last place with a share of 20 percent.

The survey was conducted on a sample of 1,109 people in 93 localities and the maximum sampling error is +/- 3%. The data was collected between April 4 and 18. The survey is commissioned by the Public Media Company.

Media Legislation

Parliament voted in first reading on the draft law on countering disinformation

Parliament voted in the first reading on the draft law on countering disinformation and false information, proposed by a group of MPs from the Action and Solidarity faction. The initiative was supported by 56 MEPs. The opposition criticized the document, citing information censorship. Representatives of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists blocked the central rostrum and left the chamber in protest.

Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei, chairwoman of the parliamentary media committee, said during the presentation of the draft to the plenary that the document had been drafted with representatives of several non-governmental media organizations and two foreign experts through the Council of Europe.

The document foresees new powers for the Intelligence and Security Service in the field of countering disinformation, notions such as disinformation and false information, restrictions on the purchase of audiovisual content that has not ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, the introduction of the notion of disinformation in the law and sanctions of up to 100. 000 lei (5000 euro) for media service providers who broadcast disinformation affecting the national security and information security of the country, criminal and misdemeanor sanctions for failure to comply with the provisions of the Commission for Exceptional Situations or the decisions of the Supreme Defense Council, and for spreading disinformation or falsehoods.

First public debates on the draft Law on Information Security

Fierce debates on the draft Law on the Security of Information Space, referred to by the opposition as the “censorship law,”  took place in Parliament between representatives of non-governmental media organizations and representatives of the Internet and media service provider communities. The draft law, voted on in the first reading, generated several reactions and proposals.

According to Valeriu Pasa, president of the WatchDog Community, the draft law should be divided into two parts, so that the proposals for changes in the audiovisual field are voted on by parliamentarians in the second reading, while the others, such as granting new powers to the Information and Security Service (ISS) and introducing some notions in the Law on Freedom of Expression, should be further consulted with stakeholders. In his view, simply blocking the websites targeted in the draft would not effectively help to stop disinformation.

Electronic Press Association (APEL) Executive Director, Ion Bunduchi, agreed with the concerns, noting as positive the attempt to create mechanisms to counter disinformation. Similarly, the executive director of the Independent Press Association (API), Petru Macovei, says he sees no problem with Moldova being among the first countries to implement new powers for smart services.

Andrei Lutenco, representative of the Centre for Policy and Reforms Moldova (CPR Moldova) criticized the proposal that the ISS could use “executive directions,” noting that this tool has proved ineffective during states of emergency. In his view, the amendments should contain a clear mechanism based on which criteria such decisions are taken in the ISS, and the provisions should remain only as recommendations.

The executive director of the National Association of ICT Companies, Marina Bzovii, also noted this problem, saying that the requirement might not be executed by foreign sites.

PAS deputy Victor Spinu, the author of the proposals on de-anonymizing web owners, said the idea was to create mechanisms to hold accountable those who spread false information that undermines state security, and the need for the project was dictated by the context of events in the neighboring country.

Valentin Afteni, a representative of the N4 TV station, also referred to the requirements to ban the broadcasting of military films from certain countries, which in his opinion is in the cultural and not the informational field.

Second round of consultations on countering disinformation project

Criticism of the definition of disinformation and restrictions on broadcasting audiovisual content, as well as discussions on the need to create a genuine media and advertising market in Moldova, were the main topics of the second round of hearings on the draft Law on Countering Disinformation. Debates continued in Parliament on April 18.

Lawyer Laura Urschi proposed the exclusion of the term public goods in the proposed definition of disinformation, which in her opinion is incorrectly used in the proposed context.

Irina Corobcenco, who oversees hate speech monitoring at Promo-Lex, said the proposed definition of disinformation contains “quite a lot of vague expressions and may pose a risk for misinterpretation”.

Primul in Moldova journalist Ludmila Belicencova asked who will decide whether a piece of information is false or not.

Yevgeny Golosceapov, an independent human rights expert, referred to countries that have not ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television. “I checked how many countries have ratified the convention. There are 34. Add a few European countries that have not ratified the convention, plus the US and Canada, and you get about 40. There are around 200 countries in the world. Why do we have to limit the information exchange possibilities to only 40 countries in the world and exclude from the information space the news, the analytics from the other 160 countries? We are not at war with these countries,” said Golosceapov.

RTR Moldova representative Yevgeny Sergheev warned that the proposed draft uses the notion of military content, but the Code does not specify what this means.

The founder of the Realitatea media group, Dumitru Tira, referred to the role of distributors in the context of the discussions, noting that the main purpose of the proposed changes should be to build a genuine media market. The media entrepreneur proposed that entertainment programs should also be banned from broadcasting, in addition to other types of programs mentioned in the draft.

Jurnal TV Deputy Director, Cristina Pohilenco, also referred to the foreign content that should be broadcast in accordance with the legislation. “Now there is an unprecedented situation, there is a war in the neighboring country and some decisions have to be taken in the national interest, not in the personal interest of each one. Foreign content makes a big difference to what is broadcast,” she said.

For his part, Dorel Samoila, a representative of the advertising agency Publicis Media, said that if the project’s requirements for increasing the volume of domestic product were implemented, the advertising market in Moldova “would collapse.”

“We want a healthy media. We are ready to wait for advertising. When it comes, let it come. But let it be fair,” said TV8 General Director Svetlana Buzu.

Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei said that MEPs would examine the proposal to split the document into two separate parts to work separately on problematic issues.

The Government has given a positive opinion on the draft law on combating disinformation

The government gave a positive opinion on the draft Law on Combating Disinformation at its meeting on April 27. The document was recently voted in Parliament in first reading and public consultations were held afterwards.

In the notice, the government supports the draft law in principle. It also makes several proposals to improve the quality of the legislation. For example, it states that the notion of “disinformation” proposed by the authors in the draft “does not fully correspond to the concept laid out in the European Union Code of Best Practice on Disinformation.”

The executive document also criticizes the idea of adding a new article to the Law on the Profile of Websites, regulating the placement of identification data of website owners and penalizing them for not publishing such data by blocking the site, because “it would constitute an excessive rule that would affect the freedom of access to Internet resources.”

Responding to opposition claims that the draft law would introduce censorship in Moldova, Justice Minister Sergiu Litvinenco said on his Facebook page, “It is exactly the opposite.” According to him, “the right to information must not prejudice measures to protect citizens or national security.”

Media Monitoring

Top-10 private TV stations and the public TV channel will be monitored for coverage of stories about the use of symbols promoting military aggression

The BC has decided to monitor 11 TV stations for coverage of topics “in the context of the enactment on April 19 of the law banning the display in the Republic of Moldova of symbols associated with the Russian Federation’s military aggression in the sovereign state of Ukraine”. The proposal was submitted by BC member Larisa Turea.

The board member proposed to carry out an ex officio control of the coverage of this topic in the morning and evening prime time broadcasting for three consecutive days – April 19, 20, 21. It proposed to monitor the “top ten private channels”, according to audience measurement data for the first quarter of this year – RTR Moldova, NTV Moldova, Primul in Moldova, Prime, TV6, Pro TV Chisinau, Publika TV, Jurnal TV, TV8, N4 – and the public TV channel Moldova 1.

BC sanctioned Jurnal TV and Pro TV Chisinau for violating the rules of correct information on the subject of the war in Ukraine

At its meeting on 15 April, the BC sanctioned Jurnal TV with 5,000 lei (250 euro) and three public warnings, and PRO TV Chisinau received one public warning for violating rules on fair reporting in news about the war in Ukraine.

The decisions were taken following the receipt of several petitions from citizen Oleg Petraru, who complained to Jurnal TV, and Natalia Daschevici, who targeted both Jurnal TV and Pro TV Chisinau.

In the case of Jurnal TV, the monitoring found that “the topics concerning the armed conflict in Ukraine were covered with shortcomings in terms of the veracity of the sources or their absence, the lack of indicators or emblems that would make the inserted video sequences identifiable, as well as the lack of opposing points of view”.

As regards Pro TV Chisinau, the BC established that the material concerned presented several opinions from both sides of the conflict, “thus balancing the positions”.

RTR Moldova fined 5,000 lei for broadcasting a report in which unanswered accusations against Ukraine were voiced

The BC has fined RTR Moldova 5,000 lei for broadcasting a report on the day of mourning in Donetk, in which accusations were leveled at Ukraine, but without the right of reply. The sanction was imposed at a meeting on April 8 at the request of WatchDog.

The story, broadcast on March 15, reported on the deaths of several people in a rocket attack on the day of mourning in Donetk. Journalists referred to the leader of the self-proclaimed DNR (Donetk People’s Republic) Denis Pusilin, who said the missile was launched by Ukraine. But the position of the neighbouring state’s representatives is missing.

BC member Ruslan Mihalevschi said journalists could have done better research and could have found Ukraine’s reaction the same day, which blamed the Russian side for what happened.

The BC sanctioned RTR Moldova for repeatedly violating the provision which obliges that “in audiovisual news programs, for which accuracy and fairness are essential, reports must come from reliable sources, sufficiently documented from a factual point of view, with a credible and impartial approach to events, with a balanced reflection of different opinions”.

TV6 and Orhei TV fined for repeated violations in ensuring correct information

The BC has fined Orhei TV and TV6 7,000 lei (350 euros) and five public warnings each for several violations of the right to accurate information. The sanctions were imposed after examining the monitoring report made based on a self-complaint by BC member Ruslan Mihalevschi.

The BC specialists, who monitored the news program “Vremea Novostei” (Время Новостей), editions of 9, 10 and 11 March, 21:00 on TV6 and 22:00 on Orhei TV, found several violations which both TV stations admitted. In particular, these were detected in some topics, which refer to alleged biological laboratories in Ukraine, statements of the Sor political party on several social issues in the Republic of Moldova, etc.

The Media Azi Show

The war in Ukraine has also provided some lessons for the media. For example, many newsrooms in Moldova have no strategy to help them operate in a crisis. Internews Moldova has developed such a plan with solutions and made it available to several partner newsrooms. In a new edition of Media Azi Show, Oxana Iutes, the organization’s deputy director, and journalist Anastasia Nani discuss the importance of such a plan and how it can be applied in crisis situations.

In 2022, the media in our country continues to face the same problems: the influence of politically affiliated holding companies, the lack of financial resources, the exodus of manpower and the difficulty to find professional employees.

And because the pandemic has depleted both people and resources, there is little chance of a recovery and a booming economic development, including for the press, in the near future. The findings are contained in a study on the realities and trends of the media market in the Republic of Moldova, launched earlier this year by the Independent Journalism Centre.

Three media managers discuss in a new edition of Media Azi show about these difficulties and the solutions, they have identified to address the situation.

IJC Updates

A new round of media literacy training. Primary school teachers developed their media skills

Eighteen primary school teachers were trained in media literacy in a new training organized by the IJC in an online format from April 8 to 10, 2022. The trainers of the course were Loretta Handrabura and Natalia Griu, authors of the Media Education curriculum and handbook for grades 3 and 4.

At the beginning of the activity, Nadine Gogu, executive director of the IJC, familiarized the teachers with the path the organization has taken in the field of promoting media literacy. “We have our finger on the pulse and we still believe it is very important to think critically. Especially now, considering what happened in Ukraine, we need to be able to weigh, question the information that appears in the media and on social media,” said Nadine Gogu.

Cristina Leva, Deutsche Welle Akademie’s representative in Moldova, thanked the participants for their involvement and assured them that they will have a different kind of training from what they are used to, thanks to the professionalism of the instructors. “We hope that you will pass on the enthusiasm for this field to your classrooms and schools,” she added.

For three days, participants enriched their media skills, learned the rules of media etiquette and functions, tested new interactive tools and debated the opportunities and risks children are exposed to in the virtual environment.

This training was organized by the Centre for Independent Journalism in the framework of the project “Strengthening Media Literacy Skills in the Republic of Moldova”, supported by Deutsche Welle Akademie and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

IJC study // Online advertising second only to TV advertising in terms of volume

Online advertising makes up about 28 percent of the entire advertising market structure or 25 percent less than the share of TV advertising (53 percent), according to the study “Media market in Moldova: realities and trends”, recently released by the Independent Journalism Centre.

According to research, young people are among the most active users of the Internet, and news is the most searched for information online.

According to an analysis by the Association of Advertising Agencies of Moldova (AAAM), to which the authors of the study refer, online has grown from €1.2 million in 2012 to €6.6 million in 2021,” the report states.

The AAAM data also shows that the total number of Internet users aged 15 and over is 1.84 million citizens, of which 1.33 million (72 percent) access the Internet daily. The rate of women surfing online is higher than that of men – 53 percent compared to 47 percent.

In terms of preferences, Moldovan internet users use the internet to access movies and music (37 percent), for internet banking, to send emails and chat (14 percent) and to access social networks (14 percent). Some 71 percent of them access the internet from their mobile phone.

Of the information searched for on websites, news tops the list, followed by education/study, health and recipes.

In the Republic of Moldova, there has been a gradual increase in the volume of radio advertising

After radio advertising budgets have been relatively constant over the last decade, the last three years show a gradual increase in the volume of on-air advertising – from €1.2 million in 2019 to €1.4 million in 2021, according to the study “Media market in the Republic of Moldova: realities and trends” released by the Independent Journalism Centre.

The authors of the research note a gradual 10 percent annual increase in the volume of radio advertising over the last three years. “This stability is due to the format, which offers certainty, the stable price of radio advertising, but also to the fact that many stations have also reached the Internet, increasing their audience,” the study’s authors note.

Data from the 2021 XPlane study, consulted by the authors, shows that radio listeners’ preferences can vary by age. For example, among children and teenagers, the preferred radio stations are Radio Zum and Kiss FM. Young people aged 20-29 listen to Hit FM and Kiss FM, while those up to 39 prefer Hit FM and Retro FM. Radio Plai is listened to most often by people aged 40-49. Older people tend to listen to analogue radio, while younger people prefer online and podcasts.

Some 47 percent of those surveyed listen to radio in the car, and around 25 percent – at home, the XPlane study also shows, with this data also supported by the National Media Audience Study, launched by the IJC in December 2021.

Mediacritica analysis: Five TV channels about the St George’s Ribbon

The IJC’s Mediacritica portal publishes the article “Five TV channels about the Saint George Ribbon” in which it analyses how citizens were informed about the ban in Moldova of the symbols used in the military aggression in Ukraine – the letters V and Z, as well as the Saint George Ribbon.

Journalist Victoria Dodon followed the topic on five TV channels, which, according to the audience survey conducted by the Independent Journalism Centre, are the most watched nationally – Prime TV (22 percenyt), Moldova 1 (19 percent), Jurnal TV (18 percent), NTV Moldova (17 percent) and Primul in Moldova (15 percent).

The author concluded that apart from the public broadcaster, the other four institutions presented facts in an unbalanced way and resorted in some cases to mixing facts and opinions.

Primul in Moldova, for example, in a report entitled “The two-coloured ribbon, defended in Balti”, broadcast on April 15, put on air the statement of the deputy of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists Alexandr Nesterovschi: “We do not allow anyone to take away our victory!” and his appeal to citizens to take to the streets “to demand their rights”. At the same time, the authors of the material continued with their own opinions: “The old people who came to the rally, including war veterans, say that they will not allow this decision to erase the memory of the heroes who died on the battlefield”.

NTV Moldova tackled the issue of banning the black-orange ribbon in a similar vein, bringing out the perspective of socialists and communists.

Prime TV and Jurnal TV also admitted in some cases to mixing facts and opinions.

In the end, the journalist recalls that all these are violations of the Audiovisual Media Services Code, but also deviations from the Code of Ethics, which states that “journalists must make a clear distinction between facts and opinions and not present opinions as facts.

“The material was produced as part of the project “Fighting propaganda and manipulation through media literacy tools”, implemented by the Center for Independent Journalism from November 2021 to November 2022, with the support of the Black Sea Trust, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The views expressed in this material do not necessarily represent those of the Black Sea Trust or its partners.

IJC and Internews Updates

A new group of high school teachers trained by the IJC. “In this information wave we must learn to be skillful swimmers”

As part of a new Media Literacy training program, the IJC has trained 11 female teachers and three male teachers who teach high school classes. The training, which was the first with physical attendance after more than two years of online activities, took place from April 15 to 17, 2022 in Chisinau. The trainers of the course were Loretta Handrabura and Natalia Griu, authors of the curriculum and handbook Education for Media for 10th and 11th grades.

Addressing the participants, Mariana Tabuncic, program manager at IJC, mentioned that investing in critical thinking means investing in the future, as such trainings will help teachers to increase their level of professionalism in order to cope with the demands of tomorrow, which will require both critical thinking and media skills.

Oxana Iutes, deputy director of Internews in Moldova, has noticed the growing number of teachers interested in IJC trainings. She encouraged training participants “to become ambassadors of critical thinking. Our future generations depend on your involvement and how we teach them to make the right choices”.

Natalia Griu started the first session by familiarizing teachers with the IJC’s journey to introduce discipline into the school curriculum. And Loretta Handrabura appreciated the participants’ motivation and openness to continuous learning. “It is important for teachers to step out of their comfort zone” she told the teachers, thanking them for “giving you the chance to shape yourselves so that you can shape the children”.

After a training session full of analysis and debate, the teachers agreed that media literacy deserves much more attention in the education process.

The training was organised by the Independent Journalism Centre as part of the project „Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M), funded by USAID, UK and implemented by Internews in Moldova.


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