Monthly Bulletin, December 2022

IJC awards 2022 Journalists of the Year

The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the Press Freedom Committee named the 2022 Journalists of the Year at the 28th Annual Press Club Gala, held on December 22. (Comrat) journalists Mihail Sirkeli and Anna Dmitrieva were recognized in the opinion category for print, TV, radio, and online media. Ziarul de Garda received an award in the investigations category for print, TV, radio, and online media. The prize for best reporting went to Georgeta Carasiucenco and Tatiana Beghiu of and Felicia Crețu of CU SENS. In the talk-show/debate category for TV, radio, and online media, TV8 journalist Iulia Budeci won the award, and the award in the longreads category went to Polina Cupcea of Oameni și Kilometri.

Agora’s Alex Gurdila was awarded for the best podcast, and TV8 journalists Viorica Tataru and Andrei Captarenco received the award for the most comprehensive and accurate coverage of the war in Ukraine.

In total, eight awards were given in seven categories.

Special prizes were also awarded at the 2022 Journalists of the Year Gala. RISE Moldova and Ziarul de Garda won the Growth of the Year award, and journalists Cristian Bolotnicov of Agora, Nicolai Coseru of NordNews and Ecaterina Buruiana of won the Hope of the Year award.

Online publication NewsMaker was awarded for its comprehensive and accurate coverage of the refugee situation, and the Zona de Securitate website was awarded for its active coverage of issues on the left bank of the Dniester River.

This year’s award of excellence went to journalist Rodica Mahu.

The Journalists of the Year Gala has been organized annually since 1995 at the Chisinau Press Club.

The Swedish Embassy in Moldova provided financial support for the organization of the event. This support does not involve the Embassy’s approval of the content, the graphic presentation, or the way information and opinions are presented.

(Video) Recap of 2022 for Journalists in Moldova

In a video retrospective of the year, the Independent Journalism Center reviews the most memorable events of the year that involved or affected the media in our country. Among them, the war unleashed by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the protests in the country during which the press was attacked and threatened, the Republic of Moldova’s achievement of the status of candidate country for EU membership, propaganda and disinformation, the authorities’ actions to block websites or suspend the licenses of TV stations, and others.

Threats or violent actions against journalists did not stop in 2022, and the investigative press continued to uncover dubious schemes and abuses committed in the public space. Initiatives by the authorities to combat disinformation and propaganda by blocking several news websites or suspending the licenses of some TV stations have led to criticism from the affected media outlets and conflicting discussions in society.

The Commission for Exceptional Situations suspends licenses of 6 TV stations

The Commission for Exceptional Situations decided to suspend the broadcasting licenses of Primul in Moldova, Accent TV, TV6, Orhei TV, NTV Moldova and RTR Moldova during the state of emergency. The order was issued on the December 16.

“After almost 300 days of war in Ukraine, propaganda in the Republic of Moldova has not stopped, and even intensified. At a time when not only an energy war, but also an information war is being waged against our country, we have a responsibility and even an obligation to protect our citizens and our country,” Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita argued shortly after the decision in a post on her Facebook page.

According to the published provision, the decision to suspend the broadcasting licenses of the six TV channels is taken “in order to protect the national information space and prevent the risk of disinformation by spreading false information or attempts to manipulate public opinion, based on the list of natural and legal persons subject to international sanctions, set out in Annex No. 1 to the Provision of the Commission for Exceptional Situations No. 45/2022, and available information on their control over some media service providers.”

The document also referred to “the many findings in the monitoring reports of the Broadcasting Council on violations of the Audiovisual Media Services Code of the Republic of Moldova, including the application of sanctions for the lack of accurate reporting of national events and the war in Ukraine.”

Media NGOs urge authorities to provide extensive explanations for the CES Decision

The Independent Journalism Center, the Media Guard Association, the Electronic Press Association, the Center for Investigative Journalism, and RISE Moldova have urged the authorities to release all information on the factual and legal basis for issuing the CES decision, which imposed restrictions on some media service providers.

“Suspension of a license as a restrictive measure taken by the CES may be allowed in the case of serious, convincing, justified, and duly proven reasons. At present, however, it is impossible to assess the proportionality of the interference and the legitimacy of the aim pursued because of the lack of explicit, clear, and detailed information confirming the control exercised over the six stations by a person included in the list of international sanctions. The CES decision also lacks precise information on the sanctions previously imposed by the CES on each of the media service providers concerned,” reads a statement signed by the five media NGOs.

They called for all the factual and legal circumstances behind the CES’s decision to be publicized to “eliminate misinterpretations and bias and to bring greater clarity.”

Media NGOs condemn the attempts of the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia to undermine freedom of the press and demand the immediate annulment of the decision on the ‘accreditation’ of journalists

On December 6, the People’s Assembly of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (UTAG) issued a decision obliging the press to obtain accreditation to have access to the premises of the local forum, establishing a series of criteria for obtaining the permit, as well as the conditions for its withdrawal.

Several media NGOs, including the Independent Journalism Center, have condemned the move and called for the decision to be rescinded without delay. In a joint statement, the signatories described the restrictions imposed by the People’s Assembly as incompatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the Law on Freedom of Expression, the Law on Transparency in Decision-Making, and the Law on the Special Legal Status of Gagauzia.

“The defiant provisions legislated by the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia constitute an abuse of the freedom of the press and cannot be accepted in a democratic society,” the statement said.

The signatories also demand that the territorial office of the State Chancellery should exercise legality control over the normative act of the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia and refer the matter directly to the administrative court for annulment.

Media NGOs condemn intimidation of journalist Mihail Sirkeli and call on law enforcement to punish those making threats

A social network user, whose profile is identified as George Constantinov, threatened journalist Mihail Sirkeli of the Comrat-based Nokta portal that a brick could “accidentally” fall on his head after the journalist published a post about the bombings in Ukraine on the day the European Parliament declared the Russian Federation a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

At the same time, on November 26, members of the pro-Russian nationalist organization in the village of Chirsova called Krestovoye Bratstvo (“Brotherhood of the Cross”) demanded that journalist Mikhail Sirkeli be anathematized and excommunicated from the church for his “stance against the Russian Orthodox Church, Orthodox Russia, and Orthodox values.”

Eight non-governmental media organizations, including the Independent Journalism Center, vehemently condemned the perpetrators’ illegal actions against the Nokta journalist. The signatories of the statement consider such practices unacceptable and draw attention to the increased danger of their entrenchment and perpetuation, particularly in the online environment.

“We call on the law enforcement authorities of the Republic of Moldova, in accordance with their legal powers, to take note of the acts committed and to initiate the procedures provided for by law in order to hold the perpetrator of the threats responsible,” the statement reads.

Combating hate speech in the media: “With hate speech on the rise, the legislative framework must be improved”

On December 7, the Guidelines for Assessing and Handling Hate Speech Cases were publicly presented in Chisinau. The document was developed to help the Broadcasting Council (BC) and other relevant authorities identify cases of hate speech in the audiovisual environment and effectively combat unacceptable forms of expression in audiovisual media programs and services. At the event, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Chisinau William Massolin spoke about the critical role of regulatory institutions in combating hate speech. “When hate speech is on the rise, the legislative framework needs to be improved,” he said.

“We have two conflicting rights: the right to freedom of expression and the right to be protected from hate speech. The BC will have to weigh these two rights and make the right decision,” Chair of the Council for the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Ensuring Equality in the Republic of Moldova Ian Feldman also stressed.

Executive Director of the Independent Journalism Center Nadine Gogu noted that “the IJC has done and continues to do a lot of monitoring of how the media covers events, whether they discriminate in bad faith or out of ignorance. From what we have seen this year, compared to previous years, the situation has worsened.”

According to Project Manager for Justice and Human Rights at the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova Eduard Pesendorfer, the relevant institutions need to react promptly to hate speech, and the guide is a very useful tool in this respect.

President of the BC Liliana Vitu stated that the actual monitoring of hate speech in audiovisual media content could only be applied after the BC approves the methodology for monitoring this form of speech and after the employees of the BC are trained in this area.

The Guidelines for Assessing and Handling Cases of Hate Speech in the Media can be found HERE.

Access to Information Index for 2022: low level of proactive transparency, ignored requests, and a law with several gaps

Central and local authorities have not made essential progress on proactive transparency in the last year, some institutions continue to ignore requests for information, and the law on access to information should be amended. The findings are contained in Freedom House’s Second Access to Information Report and were made public at Media Forum 2022 held in Chisinau on November 22-23.

Rated at 47 out of 100 points this year, the Access to Information Index is measured by assessing three criteria: access on request, proactive transparency, and the legislative framework.

Proactive transparency measures the availability of basic data sets and information on the websites of public institutions. To assess how this standard is applied in practice, the authors of the study analyzed the official websites of 58 public institutions and 15 state-owned enterprises and joint-stock companies in which the state has a stake. “No major progress has been made in the area of proactive transparency,” co-author Stela Pavlov, a consultant on media, anti-corruption, and justice sector reform, expressed during the presentation of the index data. According to the expert, in most cases, only organizational data, which relate to the institution’s organizational chart and legal framework of activity, are accessible on the pages of public institutions. The limited availability of financial data, i.e., information on the budget, financial reports, public procurement, salaries of managers, has become worrying, she says.

The experts also measured public institutions’ performance in processing requests for information of public interest by sending requests for information to all entities included in the analysis. In most cases it was difficult to obtain information on the salaries of the heads of institutions. Among those that completely ignored requests were the Ministry of the Interior, the State Tax Service, the Environmental Protection Inspectorate, the Court of Accounts, and the National Bank of Moldova.

Regarding the assessment of the Law on Access to Information, one of the key problems identified is that the current law contains limited provisions on proactive transparency, “an aspect that is practically ignored by this law,” according to co-author Dawid Szescilo, a university professor and expert on public administration reform. “It is obvious that we need to start with a new law on access to information […] in order to significantly improve the situation,” Dawid Szescilo said.

Media Forum 2022 Resolution: We call for a ministry to be identified with concrete responsibilities in the implementation of media policy

The participants of this year’s edition of the Media Forum, which took place on November 22-23, called on the authorities to assign the Ministry of Culture or another ministry concrete responsibilities in the development, consultation, and implementation of public policies in the media field. They also called for the urgent approval of the National Media Development Program for 2022-2025.

According to the resolution approved by the participants at the event, in 2023, the authorities should prioritize 1) amending, adjusting, and completing national legislation in several areas to ensure effective and rapid access to information; 2) sanctioning cases of physical attacks, intimidation, and online harassment of journalists, and 3) rapidly responding to the penetration of the national information space by propagandistic media from states recognized as aggressors by the international community.

Media Forum 2022 was organized by the Press Council and Freedom House, in partnership with the Independent Press Association, the Independent Journalism Center and the Electronic Press Association, and was made possible by the support of the Soros Foundation–Moldova and by USAID and the British Embassy in Chisinau through the MEDIA-M program

Eastern Partnership media challenges discussed in Prague

The war in Ukraine has increased the vulnerability and physical safety of journalists as well as the pressure on the independent press, which has a role to report consistently and objectively on the crisis and other important events in the region. All this has taken place in the context of a huge wave of disinformation, media censorship, and self-censorship. Media representatives from Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia spoke about these difficulties at one of the panels of the Eastern Partnership Media Conference in Prague on December 1-2.

“We thought the coronavirus pandemic was a big problem, but the war next door has brought with it a host of even bigger problems. Independent journalists are more vulnerable. They receive more threats that go unchallenged by law enforcement institutions,” said Ziarul de Garda editor Alina Radu at the start of the discussion.

The journalist referenced Roskomnadzor’s request that the publication’s online page be blocked, the unjustified blocking of Facebook posts by several editorial offices in Moldova, and the hateful and threatening messages recently received online by several media employees.

“On the bright side, the independent press now has the largest audiences ever. Audiences grew a lot in the pandemic and even more in the war. It’s the best thing we could have wished for, but there’s also a lot of pressure on journalists – to answer people’s questions, but with too few resources,” the journalist said.

Around 100 journalists and media professionals gathered in Prague in early December for the fourth Eastern Partnership Media Conference, organized under the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Participants discussed practical examples of strengthening the resilience of independent media and quality journalism, as well as current EU media policies, programs and strategies.

Media Monitoring

Channel 10 TV sanctioned for non-compliance with the volume of local, European, news, and educational programs

On December 9, the Broadcasting Council sanctioned TV channel 10 TV for deviations from the General Program Service Concept.

The monitoring of the TV station was carried out following a self-reporting by BC member Orest Dabija and covered the period November 12-18, 2022. The BC concluded that 10 TV broadcast a higher volume of Romanian audiovisual programs to the detriment of local broadcasts. Also, the percentage reserved for European audiovisual works, informative and analytical programs, educational, and cultural programs was not respected, which led to an increase in the volume of films broadcast, a category for which the audiovisual media service provider indicated 0%.

For non-compliance with the General Concept of the Program Service, the BC fined the station 17,000 lei (850 euro).

Fines for Orhei TV and TV6 for failing to meet the quotas for self-produced content and European works

The Broadcasting Council has fined Orhei TV and TV6 5,000 lei (250 euro) each for failing to comply with the audiovisual quotas for self-produced content and European works. The decisions were taken on December 2.

The two channels were monitored from October 17-23 for compliance with the General Concept of Program Service, following a self-report by the institution’s Vice-President Ana Gonta. The calculations of the Program Service Structure were made based on recordings submitted by the respective TV channels. The final data showed that both had committed deviations in the Own Production and European Works departments.

Company owning Accent TV and Primul in Moldova fined for not requesting BC consent to make changes in ownership data

The Broadcasting Council fined Telesistem TV, the owner of Primul in Moldova and Accent TV, for not having requested and received the consent of the Board of Directors to make changes to the identification data of associates in official documents down to the level of natural or legal person.

A fine of 5,000 lei (250 euro) was ordered at the authority’s meeting on December 2. The decision to sanction Telesistem TV came following a self-report by BC member Ruslan Mihalevschi on November 4.

On October 7, the Russian company “Media Invest Servis”, the founder of Telesistem TV, changed owners. The Guard newspaper wrote, with reference to data from the Register of Legal Entities of the Russian Federation, that the new owner of “Media Invest Servis” became Alexei Polunin. He took over the company through the company he owns, “Diamand Esteyt”.

At the meeting on November 4, Mihalevschi referred to the information that had appeared in the press but noted that he had personally verified these facts and said that the founder of “Diamand Esteyt” had previously been Russian citizen Andrei Goncearenko. “According to press reports, this businessman from the Russian Federation in 2019-2020 was the final beneficiary of the company that received the concession of Chisinau International Airport. Also, according to these publications, he had commercial interests in Air Moldova,” Mihalevschi informed.

According to a press release of the BC, after the end of the meeting that day, Telesistem TV informed about the changes on October 7. This, however, violates the provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Code, according to which, initially, it is necessary to obtain consent for changes in shareholders and associates.

Fines of more than 100,000 lei (5,000 euro) for 4 TV stations that did not produce enough local programs

The Broadcasting Council fined the TV stations REN Moldova, Cotidianul TV – CTV, Canal Regional and Orizont TV a total of 109,000 lei (5,400 euro) for not having produced enough local, Romanian language, and prime-time programs. The sanctions were imposed at the meeting on December 23.

According to the BC, the four media service providers were monitored between December 2-8, along with six other channels: Busuioc TV, Gurinel TV, Noroc TV, Tezaur TV, TVR Moldova, and Vocea Basarabiei TV. Unlike the latter, the fined channels violated several provisions of Article 4 of the Audiovisual Media Services Code (AMSC), which refers to local audiovisual programs and, more specifically, their average daily duration.

Thus, the audiovisual media service providers Teleproiect SRL, People for Free Media, Canal Regional SRL and Archidoc Group SRL were fined 109,000 lei.

The Media Azi Show

The latest edition of the Media Azi show features media expert Ioana Avadani as a guest, who talks about the challenges that the media in the Republic of Moldova experienced in 2022. These include the crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. “Every crisis teaches us lessons,” says journalist Anastasia Nani, who spoke to President of the Romanian Independent Journalism Center Ioana Avadani.

The production of Media Azi was made possible thanks to the generous support of the American and British people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK. The content of these editions is the responsibility of the Independent Journalism Center and does not necessarily reflect the views of the UK, USAID, or the US Government.

IJC Updates

The IJC and the Ministry of Education and Research Have Renewed Their Commitment to Promote Media Education in School

The Independent Journalism Center and the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Moldova have renewed their commitment to promote Media Education as an optional subject by signing a new Memorandum of Understanding. The document was signed on December 8, 2022, by IJC Executive Director Nadine Gogu and Minister of Education and Research Anatolie Topala.

The document stipulates that the Parties shall make consolidated efforts to expand the area of teaching Media Education in school by means of instructing teachers and holding media education activities for promoting critical thinking in society. The new commitment assumed by the Parties in accordance with the new Memorandum is aimed at the process of integrating media education topics in the fundamental subjects.

Minister Topala reconfirmed the open-minded attitude of the Ministry of Education and Research towards the ongoing cooperation with the Independent Journalism Center for promoting Media Education as an optional subject in school, and Gogu mentioned that the Ministry’s support was an important step for promoting critical thinking in society.

The Memorandum of Understanding is in force from December 2022 to December 2025.

Promoting media education is one of the IJC’s fundamental objectives. During the 6 years of teaching the subject in school, approximately 16,200 students have developed or continue improving their media skills. Since 2017, the IJC has published over 14,000 Media Education textbooks for the three levels of education in Romanian and Russian.

Media Education Workshop in Falesti: Young Men and Women with Special Needs Have Learned to Analyze Information Critically

On December 6, 2022, a group of young men and women with special needs, members of the “Protected Housing” Social Service and the Group of Self-Representatives from the Falesti District took part in a media education workshop held by the Independent Journalism Center. During the event, the participants were informed about several issues in the field of media education such as manipulation, misinformation, trolls, and general rules of online behavior, which they had not previously been exposed to.

According to IJC program manager Mariana Tabuncic, “we live in times when, regardless of our social status, education, or profession, all of us need to be aware of media education to avoid manipulation and online fake news. Only an informed person is a protected person.” The IJC representative explained about the importance of media literacy while involving young people in a number of interactive activities aimed at teaching them how to avoid informational manipulation.

Journalist Diana Raileanu joined the discussions about what media education is and how necessary it is for us currently, in the 21st century, which has been marked by an avalanche of information via media channels and social networks. “I’d like to urge you to give up informing yourself by means of ‘I’ve heard it somewhere’ or ‘someone has told me.’ Learn to think and individually analyze the information you see in the press or on social networks and check it by using several sources,” the journalist encouraged the audience.

Diana Raileanu provided a number of examples to the young people to demonstrate the tricks by which the public is often manipulated or misled. “It should always be kept in mind that when there is a certain interest on the part of certain politicians to keep their power or on the part of some businessmen; they could resort to manipulation techniques via the media. Critical thinking is our weapon against manipulation and misinformation”, the journalist concluded.

The activity is part of the project “Building social cohesion in Moldova through promoting inclusion and diminishing discrimination” by the Independent Journalism Center as part of the program “Joint Initiative for Equal Opportunities – Phase II”, implemented from the resources provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

IJC workshop for journalists on combating digital disinformation

On  December 14-15, a workshop for journalists called “Fighting Digital Disinformation” was held in Chisinau, organized by the Independent Journalism Center in partnership with the International Media Academy. The event was attended by students from the Moldovan School of Journalism and several reporters.

During the workshop, the two trainers, Andre Wolf, representing the Vienna-based portal, and IJC Director Nadine Gogu, provided basic tools for students to detect and combat digital disinformation.

For the students at the Moldovan School of Journalism, the workshop was a good opportunity to learn new solutions for detecting and combating digital disinformation.

IJC study launch // Vulnerable groups vs the media: access, consumption, and media literacy

The study was launched by the Independent Journalism Center on December 12. The paper contains seven chapters which include relevant data on the experiences and needs of vulnerable groups in accessing information, the level of media literacy and access to media literacy activities of these groups, and the audience of media sources. A separate chapter is dedicated to the role of civil society organizations in informing vulnerable groups and the experiences of interaction these groups have had with various organizations. The target groups are women, young people, people with disabilities, older people, Roma, and refugees.

Two methods were used for data collection: a survey (quantitative aspect) and in-depth interviews (qualitative aspect). The quantitative study was carried out on a representative sample of population groups with a total of 867 respondents.

Data were collected using the CAPI method (face-to-face interviews with the use of a question-and-answer tablet) from June 4-16, 2022. The collection was conducted concurrently in all districts of the Republic of Moldova. For the qualitative part of the research, 10 in-depth interviews were conducted with representative leaders of each vulnerable and/or marginalized group, as well as representatives of the media.

The study was carried out by the company Date Inteligente SRL at the request of the Independent Journalism Center (IJC), within the project “Building cohesion in Moldova through promoting social inclusion and diminishing discrimination”. The project is carried out by the Independent Journalism Center as part of the program “Joint Initiative for Equal Opportunities – Phase II”, implemented from the resources provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

What information people from vulnerable groups look for in the media

The topics of interest sought by vulnerable people in the media are primarily news and current events in the Republic of Moldova (76%), worldwide news (63%) and current events in neighboring countries (56%), as well as entertainment and general cultural material and information of a utilitarian nature. The findings come from a survey released by the Independent Journalism Center in mid-December.

In the perception of the participants in the survey, the media has the task of disseminating current information to the population (90%), providing a link between the country’s leadership and society (84%), reflecting reality with all its problems (84%), providing publicity (70%), and entertaining the audience (59%).

People with disabilities believe that the media should promote the rights of marginalized groups, non-discriminatory policies, and the positive image of this vulnerable group. Young people expect informational support on opportunities for development and education at home and abroad, entertainment, and general material of interest. It is important for Ukrainian refugees that the media report accurately on events in Ukraine, publish verified information on the urgent needs of refugees arriving in the country, debunk fake news, and combat foreign propaganda.

Respondents show a high or very high interest in success stories of people in their group, opportunities to spend their free time together, possibilities for employment and social support, information about the activities of NGOs supporting them, information about Ukrainian culture and traditions, or about Roma culture and traditions.

Elderly and disabled people have limited access to information, IJC study shows

Older people and people with disabilities have the least access to media sources, according to the IJC study. The authors of the study also found a marked discrepancy between the use of and access to three types of information sources: traditional, new, and community sources of information. They argue that access to media products does not ensure that vulnerable and/or marginalized groups understand the information they consume and, at the same time, does not protect them from manipulation.

According to the research, access to media sources for older people is restricted by a lack of IT skills (phone, laptop) and access to one or only a few TV channels, especially for older people living in rural areas. In the second case of people with disabilities, especially the visually impaired, access to media sources is limited by a lack of sign language on many TV channels, and the lack of accessible formatting for this group on most websites.

The study also finds that traditional sources of media (TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines) are more commonly used by people in rural areas, and particularly by older people and people with disabilities. On the other hand, news sites, social networks, Telegram/Viber/WhatsApp groups are more often accessed by young people, urban dwellers, and refugees.

The authors of the study noted that a significant proportion of respondents get their information from community sources – from colleagues, relatives, neighbors, family members, street signs, civil society organizations, local government.

At the same time, the research shows that mere access to media products by vulnerable and/or marginalized groups does not ensure that they understand the information they consume and does not protect them from manipulation, given the low level of media literacy and the high volume of fake news to which they are exposed.

How often do vulnerable groups turn to the media to publicize personal or community issues?

Only 10% of respondents said that they had at least once turned to media outlets to make their personal or community problems known. This means that “for about 90% of them, the relationship with media sources is one-way, i.e., receiving information”, the Independent Journalism Center study finds.

To the question “Have you had an experience when you asked for media coverage (public information through the media) of your issue or the community you belong to?” 7.4% of urban women and 4.2% of Roma answered yes. 3.6% of people with disabilities addressed the media and 3.2% of refugees. Most young people have never sought assistance from representatives of any media institution.

In terms of raising public awareness through letters or emails to the media, according to the survey, the following groups were shown to be slightly more active: urban young people (5.2%), rural women (4.3%), people with disabilities (3.6%), and older people (3.6%), while the most reluctant to use this method are rural young people (0.9%) and Roma (1%).

A third way of publicizing their problems is by approaching the media directly. This was done at least once by 3.2% of urban women, 3.1% of urban young people, and 2.1% of Roma. None of the people with disabilities interviewed in the survey phoned a media institution to report their problem.

The overall picture shows that most respondents have not had any communication with the media about problems they face personally or in the community.

More than a half of the members of vulnerable groups find it hard to identify fake news

A large proportion of respondents to a survey carried out as part of the Independent Journalism Center’s research “Vulnerable and/or marginalized groups in relation to the media: access, consumption and media literacy” find it difficult or very difficult to distinguish fake news from truthful news. This is the case for 54% of refugees and 52% of Roma, the most vulnerable groups in terms of detecting manipulative news. On the other hand, only 23% of urban young people said they would find it difficult (and 0% – very difficult) to identify a misleading or manipulative news item. They also say they could most easily spot such news: 50% – easily and 21% – very easily, the IJC research shows.

However, urban young people (70%), rural women (63%) and people with disabilities (61%) are most likely to notice when the media want to manipulate or change people’s minds through fake news, propaganda, and misinformation.

The survey also shows that around two-thirds of respondents strongly agree that it is important for people in the country to be able to distinguish between news that aims to manipulate or misinform citizens. Slightly fewer – only 47% – strongly agree with this statement.

Media Literacy: Survey respondents say the subject should be part of the curriculum in schools and universities

Access to media sources by vulnerable and marginalized groups with low levels of media literacy limits their options to consume quality, verified information. This is why people from such groups believe that media literacy education should be made compulsory in schools and universities. This conclusion is also reflected in the research “Vulnerable and/or marginalized groups in relation to the media: access, consumption and media literacy” conducted by the IJC.

According to the study, “the urban youth group considers it necessary to implement media literacy policies in educational institutions, starting with the school curriculum and ending with the higher education curriculum”, and for rural youth, “it is necessary that media literacy courses and training be carried out in the localities they belong to, for reasons related to travel costs, time, overlapping activities.”

The need to introduce a media literacy subject into the school curriculum was also mentioned by the Roma group, stressing the importance of cultivating critical thinking in children and young people starting from school, which will make them “more skilled,” the study added.

The qualitative research highlights a critical situation in the refugee group environment, where there is a pressing need to ensure a basic level of media literacy.

CuMINTE Podcast: What are ethical rules and why journalists must follow them?

Journalists should follow certain rules of professional ethics in everything they do. What exactly do these rules entail? Show host Ana Sirbu, together with several experts, tried to answer this question in the latest edition of this year’s cuMINTE Podcast.

“Compliance with the code of ethics and the rules that are listed there is proof, in fact, of a journalist’s professionalism,” says Vice President of the Broadcasting Council Ana Gonta. In her opinion, the Code of Ethics should remain important, a bible, a book of reference, if you like, for all journalists “who claim to be journalists and do their job with the best of intentions, who have no interests other than informing the public in the Republic of Moldova.”

According to President of the Chisinau Press Council Viorica Zaharia, you can only call yourself a journalist if you respect the Code of Ethics. “Deontology makes the difference, especially now, when the producers of media content are bloggers, vloggers and anyone who uses social networks. They don’t and can’t have ethical rules like we journalists do,” says Zaharia. She also says that, for now, we have journalists who “choose not to respect the code of ethics and work for politicians – that is, they present information in a biased, one-sided, truncated way. Others, on the contrary, don’t even understand why you would call yourself a journalist if you work for someone you actually have to monitor closely.”

“It is very important to encourage journalists to understand that respecting ethical rules is crucial,” says Independent Journalism Center Editor Victoria Dodon.

Head of the Department of Journalism Theory and Practice at the State University of Moldova Mariana Tacu also spoke about the importance of the journalist’s code of ethics. Among the guests of the show were several young people: journalism students and high school students studying Media Education.

“Things are moving, a little at a time, also because of the Media Literacy work that has been going on for a few years now, the increasing public discussion of propaganda and manipulation, and the obvious interference of some politicians in the media business,” concluded Zaharia.

The cuMINTE podcast is produced by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) within the project “Promoting media literacy among media consumers through quality media content” that is being implemented in the period November 2022-March 2023 and supported by the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR). The views expressed in this material do not necessarily represent those of the IWPR or its partners.

“The podcast cuMINTE challenges you.” A new competition launched by the IJC

The Independent Journalism Center invites students in grades 9-12 to a media literacy competition in which the cuMINTE Podcast challenges them to think critically. Both students studying the optional subject Media Education and those who are not studying this subject but are interested in the topic can enter the competition.

The competition will take place in three stages. In the first stage, participants will test their general knowledge in a Kahoot quiz. The questions will be both technical and content-related (e.g., how many podcast editions have been made so far, on which podcasting platforms is our product available, what is a media literacy podcast, and what topics have been covered in the podcast editions).

In the second stage of the competition, participants will answer questions about the content of the cuMINTE podcast. 20 tickets with questions will be prepared, and the participants will draw them randomly.

Sample question: What is the motto of the cuMINTE Podcast?

Answer: “We understand together what’s fake and what’s real!”

For the third stage, participants will have to prepare a speech, lasting 1:30-2:00 minutes, arguing/explaining why young men and women should listen to the cuMINTE Podcast.

Based on their score, the jury will choose three winners, who will each receive a tablet. All participants will receive certificates of participation.

Those wishing to participate are encouraged to complete this questionnaire by February 1, 2023. If more than 20 students register for the competition, the IJC reserves the right to shortlist. The competition will be held offline in Chisinau on Saturday, February 11, 2023.

For details or further information, please contact: by email or 022 21 36 52 by phone.

The contest is conducted by the Independent Journalism Center within the project “Promoting media literacy among citizens through quality media content”, implemented between November 2022 and March 2023, with the support of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).


Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard