Monthly Bulletin, January 2022

Parliament declared a state of emergency in the context of the energy crisis. The initiative also targets media activity

Parliament approved at its extraordinary session on January 20 the decision to establish a state of emergency in the energy sector for a period of 60 days. The initiative was submitted by the Government and contains, among other things, provisions relating to the media. According to the document, the media should inform the population about the causes and extent of the situation, the measures taken to prevent energy hazards, and to familiarize citizens with the rules of conduct during the exceptional situation. Special rules for the use of telecommunications equipment were also introduced. Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita, who presented the draft in the plenary session of Parliament, said that “it is not about censorship or attempting to intervene in the telecommunications market”, but about “the ability of the Commission for Exceptional Situations to intervene with SMS messages or notifications to citizens.”

First provision of the Commission for Exceptional Situations: ISS back in charge of monitoring fake news

Under the state of emergency approved by Parliament, the Intelligence and Security Service (ISS) is once again responsible for monitoring online content promoting false information about the energy sector affecting state security. The provision was included in the first provision of this year’s Commission for Exceptional Situations, issued on January 20.

According to the document, the ISS will approve by order and make public the list of online content promoting false energy news, and network and/or electronic communication service providers will be obliged under this order to block access to such sources.

In the autumn of 2021, ISS had under the information published by online portals on the topic of energy crisis under a microscope, and in the spring – about Covid-19. In total, since the declaration of the exceptional energy state, from October 22 to November 20, 2021, ISS has requested the blocking of the content of five websites.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media criticizes changes that brought TRM back under parliamentary control and recommends reviewing them

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Press, Teresa Ribeiro, has recommended that the Moldovan authorities review the amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Code that brought Teleradio-Moldova (TRM) back under parliamentary control and established a new accountability mechanism for the Broadcasting Council (BC), according to an OSCE press release.

The legal analysis on the law amending the Audiovisual Media Services Code, carried out by independent expert Joan Barata on behalf of the OSCE Office for Freedom of the Press, was presented by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on January 14, 2022. The study focuses on assessing the law’s compliance with international standards on human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of the press and with key OSCE human dimension commitments.

Among other things, it recommends the repeal of amendments that subject the TRM Director General to political election by Parliament, including decisions on his appointment, performance evaluation and dismissal. “Parliamentary scrutiny replaces the scrutiny of these matters previously carried out by the TRM’s Supervisory and Development Board,” the document says.

The OSCE expert also recommends “enhancing guarantees that the process of appointing and electing members of the TRM Supervisory and Development Council (SDC) is conducted in a transparent and fair manner, including by avoiding final decisions in this area being taken by the incumbent parliamentary majority.”

As regards the appointment and possible dismissal of members of the BC, the authors of the study consider that these “are essentially identical to those applicable to the TRM’s governing body and should therefore also be repealed.”

Director of the Romanian language service of Radio Free Europe awarded the Order of Honour

Moldovan President Maia Sandu has awarded the Order of Honour to Oana Serafim, director of the Romanian-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Libertatea, who will soon end her term in this position, according to a presidential press release. The announcement was made at a meeting on January 10.

Oana Serafim received the award as a token of high appreciation for her work in ensuring fair and equitable information to the public and for her constant support and promotion of democratic values in our country over the years.

Media NGOs condemned the abusive actions of the Buiucani Police Inspectorate against Jurnal TV

On December 22, 2021, the employee of the Buiucani Police Inspectorate Alexandru Spoialo drew up a report stating that Jurnal TV had committed the offence of libel. The contravention process was triggered after a former policeman, Vitalie Grabovschi, who was targeted in a journalistic investigation by the TV station, filed a complaint with the police. He accused Jurnal TV of spreading “false and defamatory information about the commission of a crime, thereby damaging his honor, personal dignity and professional reputation.” The investigating officer, invoking a violation of Article 70 of the Contravention Code, referred the case to the Ciocana Court of Chisinau, recommending that the court deprive the administrator of Jurnal TV, Valentin Butnaru, of the right to work for a period of one year for having admitted to broadcasting the contested information.

In a joint statement, a group of non-governmental media organizations, including the Independent Journalism Centre (IJC), condemned the actions of the Buiucani Police Inspectorate as abusive. “The filing of a criminal case against Jurnal TV can be classified as an attack on the freedom of expression of the media institution,” the statement said.

In 2021, the ECtHR handed down 68 judgments in Moldovan cases. Two cases concerned freedom of expression

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) received 630 applications against Moldova last year, three times the European average, according to an analysis of Moldovan cases at the ECHR released by the Moldovan Legal Resources Centre (MJRC).

According to the study, in 2021, the ECtHR handed down 68 judgments in Moldovan cases, with Moldova ranking fifth among the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe. 69 violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) were found in the judgments, two of which concern freedom of expression.

In a October 12, 2021 decision in the case of RISE Moldova and Iurie Sanduta v. Republic of Moldova, the Strasbourg Court condemned the Republic of Moldova for violating the freedom of expression. The journalistic investigation, published in September 2016 by Rise Moldova, concerned a transaction through offshore zones involving the company Exclusiv Media, managed by socialist MP Corneliu Furculita.

In another case, on November 30, 2021, the ECtHR issued its judgment in the case of Matasaru v. Republic of Moldova, finding a violation of the right to freedom of expression and the right to liberty and security of activist Anatol Matasaru, who organized a protest action in front of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in 2016.

From the ratification of the Convention in 1997 until December 31, 2021, the ECtHR has delivered 541 judgments in Moldovan cases. In 461 of these cases, at least one violation of the Convention was found to have been committed by our State.

The Alternative Media Association, founder of TV8, has two new members on its Board of Directors

Entrepreneur Vasile Tofan and non-profit management consultant Nicolae Loghin are the new members of the Board of Directors of the Media Alternativa association, founder of TV8, according to the channel’s official website.

Vasile Tofan is a senior partner of the Horizon Capital investment fund and a member of the board of Moldova Agroindbank (MAIB). reports that Horizon Capital is a co-founder of the London-based HEIM Partners Limited consortium, which owns 41.09% of MAIB’s capital. Tofan was previously a director of HEIM Partners Limited. He is also chairman of the non-executive board of directors of the winery Purcari Chateau. Vasile Tofan holds a master’s degree in Business and Management from Harvard Business School.

Nicolae Loghin has been an expert at the Center for Organizational Consultancy and for Training (CICO) for six years and a project consultant at Gateway & Partners.

Currently, in addition to the two, the Board of Directors of AO Media Alternativa includes Igor Botan, Executive Director of ADEPT, Mariana Rata, Senior Editor of TV8, and Ion Guzun, legal consultant.

TRM’s investigation: Radio newsroom department allegedly omitted several news items and aired an old New Year’s message from President Maia Sandu. Editor-in-chief’s reaction

The director general of TRM, Vlad Turcanu, announced that he has launched an investigation into the editor-in-chief of Radio Moldova’s News editorial department after a recent news bulletin “omitted the news of the moment from the Republic of Moldova and the news of the day from Europe,” and a message from last year by President Maia Sandu was broadcast on New Year’s Eve.

The commission is yet to establish “the causes of these dysfunctions.” “But I can tell you right now that, one way or another, we will soon get rid of all those who think they can laugh in our faces, shaming our profession and our colleagues,” the TRM director warned on a social network.

In response, the head of Radio Moldova’s News editorial department, Adrian Petcu, claims that the correct version of the New Year’s Eve message was sabotaged by the new TRM management and that this “sabotage” was “very carefully prepared in advance, because the administration did not find a plausible reason to fire me.”

Contacted by Media Azi, Victoria Coroban, director of the public broadcaster Radio Moldova, said she was aware of the problems described by TRM’s director general, but refused to comment on the case, saying she did not want to influence the investigation.

NTV Moldova has dropped the idea of excluding Russian news broadcasts from its schedule



After the NTV Moldova administration informed the BC in mid-December 2021 that it was stopping retransmission of news and analytical TV programs produced in the Russian Federation, the station announced on January 25 that it would continue to broadcast these programs. The information was confirmed to Media Azi by the president of the BC, Liliana Vitu.

In December 2020, the Parliament annulled the provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Code allowing the retransmission of news-analytical and military broadcasts only from countries that have ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, the USA and Canada. Thus, broadcasts from the Russian Federation, which for a time were banned from broadcasting in the country, have returned to Moldovan small screens. Russia is among the countries that have signed but not ratified the convention.

People with special needs repeatedly report problems with access to information

Insufficient number of sign language translators and their limited presence on TV screens are the most pressing problems faced by people with hearing disabilities in accessing information. The topic was discussed during an online roundtable organized by the INFONET Alliance in partnership with the Association of the Deaf of Moldova.

During the discussion, the Vice-President of the Society of the Deaf of the Republic of Moldova, Natalia Babici, the President of the Deaf Society’s veterans’ organization, Olga Korjan, the Executive Director of the INFONET Association, Victor Koroli informed about the problems faced by people with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova. Currently there are only 17 registered sign language translators, three of whom are abroad, and only 12 de facto specialists. “One translator is responsible for around 300 people with disabilities,” said Natalia Babici. One of the most serious problems, she says, is the lack of training for staff who could study and then teach sign language.

Translator Alla Bargan spoke about her own experience in this field and confirmed that there are serious problems in this area.

According to Victor Koroli, the topics will be discussed with decision-makers from the Broadcasting Council and the Parliamentary Media Commission, representatives of the media and other stakeholders. The INFONET association he leads will develop a guide on informing people with special needs, which can also be used by media employees.

Moldovan Football Federation wants to launch a sports-themed TV channel

A new niche TV channel is expected to launch in the near future – WE SPORT TV. The Moldovan Football Federation (MFF) was granted a nine-year broadcasting license at the January 12 meeting of the Broadcasting Council.

The station is to broadcast its programs via the country’s service distributors’ networks in the thematic format, i.e., sport. According to the editorial draft, the management of the TV channel aims to produce 95% of its own production and 5% of promo, advertising, and teleshopping.

Alexandru Grecu, MFF representative and the person responsible for the media project, mentioned that the TV channel will be supported by the association’s partners, such as FIFA (International Football Federation) and UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). “We are going to establish with them the split budget for this project according to the programs we will make in the future,” said Alexandru Grecu.

Media Monitoring

Publika TV and ITV sanctioned by the BC in the first meeting of the year

In the first meeting of the new year, members of the BC sanctioned Publika TV for not respecting the privacy of minors in a news report and ITV for incorrect use of its logo. The BC was alerted by a non-governmental organization and a private company.

The National Centre for the Prevention of Child Abuse (CNPAC) referred to the BC regarding a December 14 news report by Publika TV on two young girls who were “victims of abusive, including sexual, and negligent actions by their fathers.” The NGO claims that the journalists had disseminated personal data of the vulnerable girls in the material and called for the TV station to be sanctioned and for the news to be removed from the TV station’s website archive.

Monitoring by the BC confirmed the allegations made in the complaint. The BC members decided by majority vote to sanction Publika TV with a public warning for violation of the article on the protection of minors.

At the same meeting, ITV was fined 5,000 lei (250 euro) “for the violation of the provisions of the broadcasting license.” The complaint was lodged by Media Content Distribution, which informed the BC that in October 2021, instead of using an official Channel 5 logo, ITV had used a similar but different logo.

ITV representatives claim to have informed the BC of this. However, according to the BC, the station submitted this information after it had been notified and the results of the monitoring confirmed this.

TikToker case: BC fines several TV stations a total of 70,000 lei for reporting violations about the fight outside a Chisinau nightclub

On January 4, the BC monitored the main news bulletins of national audiovisual media service providers in Moldova on how they covered the fight that took place at a nightclub in Chisinau.

A total of 13 national media service providers were targeted: Moldova 1, Moldova 2, Publika TV, Prime, Primul in Moldova, TVR Moldova, TV6, Canal 2, Canal 3, TV8, NTV Moldova, Jurnal TV and Pro TV Chisinau. According to the BC monitoring report, the subject was covered by TV8, TV6, Pro TV Chisinau, Canal 2, Canal 3, Prime and Publika TV. The monitoring showed that TV8 correctly processed images and sounds, while on TV6, “the violent actions of the aggressor can be observed.” Pro TV Chisinau, “broadcast video footage showing the victim being repeatedly kicked while sitting on the stairs of the premises, trying to cover herself with her hands, and the images are accompanied by cries of distress from the victim.” In reports on Channel 2, Channel 3, Prime and Publika TV it was found that the image of the victim was also technically processed, but the assailant’s actions are not processed in the same way. Moreover, the video footage was broadcast repeatedly, and the TV stations aired the same footage on another day.

Following the debates, the members of the BC decided to sanction Pro TV Chisinau and Canal 3 with 15,000 lei (750 euro) each, and TV6, Canal 2, Prime and Publika TV with 10,000 lei (500 euro) each. The maximum fines were imposed on the two broadcasters for repeated infringements in the same area.

On January 4, in a nightclub in the Ciocana sector of the capital, according to the police, a 30-year-old man was beaten and taken to hospital for medical care. The assailant, a Tiktoker from Chisinau, has been identified and a criminal case has been opened.

Several TV stations fined for volume deviations between broadcasts and commercials

The BC has fined four TV stations 5,000 lei (€250) each for sound level deviations in audiovisual programs. The sanctions were imposed at a meeting on January 19, following consideration of a monitoring report on the subject.

The monitoring took place from December 21 to 27, 2021 and concerned five TV channels. The results showed that NTV Moldova did not commit audio intensity deviations, while violations were identified at TV stations Gurinel TV, Accent TV, Agro TV Moldova and TV Gagauzia.

During the debate, the members of the BC discussed the application of proportional sanctions, depending on the number of deviations allowed by each TV station, but in the end, it was decided that all broadcasters should be sanctioned equally.

According to the law, media service providers are obliged to standardize the sound level of audiovisual programs with that used for commercial broadcasts.

BC to monitor a broadcast on NTV Moldova from Russia and launched an appeal to providers in the context of the “security crisis”

At the January 26 meeting, the chairwoman of the BC, Liliana Vitu, recalled the provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Code on banning broadcasts “likely to propagate, incite, promote or justify (…) other forms of hatred based on intolerance,” ensuring a clear distinction between facts and opinions and presenting information impartially and in good faith.  BC member Eugeniu Ribca came up with the proposal that the BC should monitor the program “Новые русские сенсации” [from Russian, “New Russian sensations”] broadcast on NTV Moldova on Sunday, January 23, “precisely in the context of this topic”, Ribca said. With a unanimous vote, the BC decided to monitor this broadcast. The head of the BC said that the Council had also been publicly referred to it, but without specifying who had made the referral.

According to NTV, “Новые русские сенсации” is a weekly program in the investigative journalism format. The January 23 edition was devoted to political events in Ukraine.

The Media Azi Show

Recently, the Independent Journalism Centre (IJC) launched the Study of Needs of Media Institutions in the Republic of Moldova, which, in addition to the needs of the media, also highlights some problems, including the lack of respect for journalistic ethics. When asked about the reasons for not meeting the standards of quality journalism, respondents most often cited insufficient training of journalists, political pressure, the desire to get as many views as possible or the influence of media owners. Nadine Gogu, executive director of the IJC, analyzed in a new edition of Media Azi Show several responses on media self-regulation, included in one of the seven chapters of the survey.

IJC Updates

The IJC has launched a new cycle of analysis on media disinformation and propaganda

In January, the IJC monitored news, political, analytical and/or military content broadcast from the Russian Federation by two Moldovan audiovisual media service providers – RTR Moldova and Primul in Moldova. Two analyses, published by the IJC, examined the coverage of events in Kazakhstan by Rossia RTR, broadcast by RTR Moldova, and the talk show “Время Покажет” (Russian for “Time will show”) on Pervii Kanal television channel in the Russian Federation, broadcast by Primul in Moldova. The monitoring found that in both cases the broadcasts were in serious breach of the Moldovan Audiovisual Media Services Code.

The analytical article “About the protests in Kazakhstan on RTR, between reality and misinformation” finds that the reporting on the protests in Kazakhstan has neglected the principle of plurality of opinions, presenting only the position of the authorities and not of the protesters. Thus, the viewer in Moldova found it difficult to distinguish between objective information and propaganda on this channel.

The second analysis, “Disinformation, trivial, sexist and obscene language in a program on Primul in Moldova,” is based on the monitoring of the talk show “Время Покажет”, broadcast by Pervii Canal and retransmitted by Primul in Moldova. The IJC analysis draws attention to the fact that views presented by guests on the show are not based on facts, but on assumptions and speculations spread in bad faith, often creating panic and inciting hatred. Another conclusion is that the show’s makers “present as journalism and public debate what is in fact manipulation and aggressive disinformation.”

The analysis was published on the IJC’s Mediacritica portal as part of the project “Fighting Propaganda and Manipulation through Media LIteracy Tools,” implemented by the Independent Journalism Center from November 2021 to November 2022 with support from the Black Sea Trust, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The podcast cuMINTE about the most dangerous misinformation of 2021

The January edition of the cuMINTE Podcast looks at the most dangerous and viral misinformation of the past year. In it, podcast producer, journalist Ana Sirbu, talks with the Romanian Center for European Policy expert Alexandru Damian. In his opinion, last year, as in previous years, politically affiliated media outlets promoted pro-Kremlin, anti-EU, and anti-NATO messages in the context of the frozen conflict in the Transnistrian region or the dissent in eastern Ukraine. Many fake news stories were intentionally promoted in last year’s election campaigns. Much of the fake news was about the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled by various conspiracy theories, oriented against vaccination or protective masks.

Who is behind the misinformation? What is their purpose and, more importantly, what effects do they have on us? – These and many other questions were answered by the show’s knowledgeable guest.

The cuMINTE podcast is produced by the Independent Journalism Center with the support of the Black Sea Trust, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

IJC study reveals media challenges and needs of newsrooms

The Media Needs Survey, launched on January 21 by the IJC, finds that the main problem facing media outlets is a shortage of qualified staff (67%). Another problem is the lack of financial resources, cited by 51% of the institutions surveyed. Outdated equipment and/or lack of it is a challenge for some 49% of the newsrooms surveyed. Unfair competition in the advertising market and unfair competition from politically affiliated media outlets were also cited by respondents.

The Needs Survey includes the following chapters: general data on the media sector in the Republic of Moldova; content distributed by media institutions; human resources in media institutions; financing of media institutions; views on media regulatory and self-regulatory mechanisms; management of media institutions; state of the media sector and development prospects.

The study was conducted by Magenta Consulting, commissioned by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC), as part of the project “Strengthening Media Sustainability in Moldova”, implemented by the IJC and funded by the US Embassy in Moldova.

Advertisers and reporters in high demand among media outlets

More than half of the media institutions surveyed in the Media Needs Survey conducted by Magenta Consulting for the Independent Journalism Centre said they needed new staff for both current needs and to expand their operations (59%). Every second respondent reported a need to hire advertisers and reporters.

Thus, in most cases, media outlets need the following specialists: advertisers (59%), reporters (59%), cameramen (29%) and video editors (27%).  Around a quarter of institutions need program/project managers (24%) and social media managers (23%). Presenters and moderators are needed by 21% and producers by 18% of respondents. 17% are in need of technical staff and editors and 15% – designers\ and editors-in-chief.

The study included an online survey involving 76 media outlets, 30 in-depth interviews, desk research and content analysis of the main TV news bulletins. Management representatives were invited as respondents for the online survey and in-depth interviews.


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