TV and radio stations and media service distributors are obliged to suspend the broadcasting and retransmission of programs that were originally produced in states that have not ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, apart from art films, entertainment films and programs that were produced in the EU, US, and Canada. A decision to this effect was adopted on Wednesday, March 2, by the Commission for Exceptional Situations (CES).
The Russian Federation and Belarus are not on the list of countries that have ratified the Convention.
The Supreme Security Council (SSC) also granted the Broadcasting Council (BC) the right to suspend the broadcasting license of providers and the retransmission license of distributors during the state of emergency.
Two journalists from Denmark, who were injured in Ukraine, were treated at the district hospital in Stefan Voda, wrote Newsmaker.md with reference to a statement of the deputy director of the medical institution, Anatolii Gurila.
The representative of the hospital confirmed to the editorial office that the journalists had come to the hospital on March 1, and later went to Denmark.
The deputy director of the hospital also said that they were waiting for another injured person to arrive in Ukraine.
Reporters Without Borders wrote that the two journalists, reporter Stefan Weichert and photographer Emil Filtenborg Mikkelsen, were injured on February 26 while on their way to cover events in a bombed-out kindergarten in the town of Ohtirka.
The Information and Security Service (ISS) has warned of irresponsible behavior by some citizens, who have displayed and propagated flags, graphic emblems, badges, slogans and greetings that create risks of undermining peaceful coexistence in society.
In a press release, the ISS warns that such behavior can have negative consequences and promotes hate speech in society. “ISS, together with the competent law enforcement bodies, will continue prophylactic measures aimed at preventing hate speech phenomena and other illegal activities mentioned,” the release said.
At the same time, the ISS reminds citizens that any incitement to war or incitement to national or ethnic hatred, differentiation or division is prohibited by the law on counteracting extremist activity and may fall under several articles of the Criminal Code.
The ISS is registering an “exponential increase” in fake news in the context of the war in Ukraine the director of the institution, Alexandr Esaulenco, told a press briefing on March 18.
According to Esaulenco, in the process of monitoring the online media space, the ISS has detected hate speech orchestrated against refugees and materials that bring to the public’s attention certain distorted facts, such as those attempting to justify and propagate war or stir up inter-ethnic strife and conflict (including within Moldova).
The ISS representatives also noted that news items “taken from foreign news agencies, especially those presenting positions in favor of military aggression, without including alternative views or verifying the information reported from several sources, those with sensational material, photos, videos, with signs of manipulation that may cause public panic, tension or social conflict” are particularly exploited.
|The Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS), together with ISS and SPIA officers, is investigating the actions of individuals who have spread biased and fabricated information in the public in the context of the 2022 war in Ukraine.|
According to a press release from the Prosecutor General’s Office, the facts under investigation “concern the systematic dissemination of such information through various means – Internet, TV, radio, print media.”
The investigations have established that these actions are aimed at creating an emotional climate among the Moldovan population favorable to the war, including with a view to generating social unrest. “Therefore, the facts are being investigated under Articles 140 and 346 of the Criminal Code,” the statement said.
Earlier, the country’s president, Maia Sandu, also said in a press briefing that a real smear campaign had begun against Ukrainian refugees and urged people to be lenient and not fall prey to manipulation.
The ISS has requested the blocking of the websites Flux.md, Iurierosca.md and Rosca.md, which are allegedly managed by politician Iurie Rosca. They have been included in the list of online content sources “promoting information inciting hatred and war under the state of emergency,” the ISS statement said.
According to TV8.md, Iulian Groza, a member of the SSC, filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General’s Office and ISS after Rosca posted a video on the Internet urging Moldovans to pray for Russia’s victory in the war in Ukraine. “Pray not for the end of the war, pray for the continuation of this war and for the victory of Putin’s Russia against Satanist globalism,” wrote Iurie Rosca on social media. Representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office said they have investigated the case and will examine it.
Iurie Rosca is a former president of the Christian Democratic People’s Party and former two-time deputy speaker of Parliament. He has also worked as a journalist for various media outlets, including the public television station.
|The portals Acasa-24.site and Rta.md have been identified by the ISS as online sources that “promote false information affecting national security under the state of emergency.” The ISS claims that the headlines on Acasa-24.site have been heavily promoted on social media to misinform the general public.”|
The website www.rta.md, which positions itself as an analysis center under the name “Regional Trends Analytics,” also distributes materials reflecting “opinions oriented towards justifying war, as well as against the territorial integrity and neutrality status of the country.” The address of the editorial office is fictitious.
So far, the ISS has requested the blocking of 11 websites “inciting hatred and war under the state of emergency”. These include platforms run by politician Iurie Rosca and the Sputnik.md website.
|The audiovisual regulator has set itself the goal of conducting monthly thematic monitoring of media service providers, the first of which was the presence of local content produced in Romanian. This is what the President of the BC, Liliana Vitu-Esanu, said in an interview with the Independent Journalism Centre’s (IJC) Media Azi portal.|
“We have indeed detected many channels that still do not question or perhaps thought that this BC will be lenient, will not reach so quickly to monitor content,” said Liliana Vitu-Esanu.
In the interview, the BC president says she turned her attention to this issue because she received signals that “there are big distortions.” “There are providers who invest and try to produce eight mandatory hours of content, six or four hours, and there are other providers who (…) benefit from retransmitted content without investing in the local product broadcast in Romanian to the extent that others invest, but at the same time ‘consume’ a good part of the advertising market.”
The monitoring will also focus on the compliance of audiovisual media service providers with Article 13 of the Code on correct information. To this end, the BC has developed the Explanatory Guide on Ensuring Fair Information, which explains in detail the rules laid down in Article 13 of the Audiovisual Media Services Code (AMSC) and how they can be applied in the practical work of the providers.
In the interview for the IJC’s Media Azi portal, BC President Liliana Vitu-Esanu states that the restrictions on broadcasting content produced abroad – recently approved by the Commission for Exceptional Situations (CES) – should be included in audiovisual legislation. She also believes that legislators should return to the previous provisions obliging providers to broadcast at least 50% European content.
“Returning to certain amendments I think is absolutely necessary because the war in Ukraine has shown that we are in a very fragile state, we are still vulnerable to outside propaganda. The Broadcasting Council is a weak institution in terms of human and technical resources. And then, of course, faced with a continuous wave of disinformation and propaganda, it is clear that you feel weak, and you do your work to the extent that you can and with the tools and levers you have,” said Vitu-Esanu.
The Broadcasting Council has produced the Explanatory Guide on Ensuring Fair Information, which explains in detail the rules laid down in Article 13 of the AMSC and how they can be applied in the practical work of media service providers (MSPs).
The Guide is based on both legal provisions and rules of professional conduct for ensuring fair information, which have been discussed in previous public consultations. Proposals from media organizations, including the Independent Journalism Centre, were also taken into account in the drafting of the document.
According to the authors, the purpose of the Guide is to ensure the proper and predictable application of the rules of Article 13 of the AMSC “on the basis of a clear understanding of the essence of the rules both on the part of the MSP, which is obliged to comply with them, and on the part of the BC, which is obliged to supervise compliance.” In this way, the document aims to eliminate impending disagreements when the same rule is interpreted differently by the two parties.
Article 13 of the AMSC lays down several rules on the correct information of citizens – distinction between facts and opinions, verification of facts, presentation of facts impartially and in good faith, etc.
The advertising market in Moldova is seriously affected by the security crisis in the region, say several TV managers in an investigation by the IJC’s Media Azi portal entitled: “Several TV stations run out of advertising because of the war in Ukraine: “If the situation worsens, we risk losing it all.”
Thus, since the outbreak of the war in the neighboring state, several local and foreign companies have suspended or withdrawn advertising from some TV stations – one of the most important sources of livelihood for media service providers. Representatives of the affected broadcasters, interviewed by Media Azi, describe the current situation in the sector in gloomy tones, but hope things will stabilize.
In another article, entitled “Online media with advertising put on hold: “The effects will be felt for a considerable time,” the portal says the same problem has arisen with online media outlets. They are also feeling the impact of the armed conflict in Ukraine, which has seen several companies stop advertising with them. In such circumstances, representatives of several news portals are pinning their hopes on the support of readers and external donors to keep them going.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will rule on the case of NIT S.R.L. v. The Republic of Moldova at a public hearing to be held on April 5, 2022, according to a press release issued by the Strasbourg court.
In 2012, the applicant company “Noile Idei Televizate (NIT) S.R.L” complained to the ECtHR about the withdrawal of the license of its NIT TV station, arguing that this violated its right to freedom of expression and property rights. Also, invoking Article 6 (right to a fair trial), the applicant considered that the procedure for the revocation of his license was unfair.
Prior to this, between 2009 and 2011, the broadcaster had been sanctioned several times for breaching the law on the protection of pluralism, namely the obligations of neutrality and impartiality, in its news bulletins. In particular, the national broadcasting authority accused the broadcaster of a lack of pluralism, politically biased news bulletins, favoring the opposition political party and broadcasting distorted news.
In 2012, its operating license was withdrawn.
The complainant company challenged the decision before the national courts, but its action was dismissed as unfounded in 2013, as the TV station refused to comply with national legislation related to the protection of pluralism.
The suspended head of Teleradio-Moldova’s (TRM) Human Resources department, Oxana Busuioc-Toma, accuses the General Director of the public broadcaster, Vlad Turcanu, of having asked her to dismiss “inconvenient” people. She informed the Supervisory and Development Council (SDC) of the institution in a public letter that she had been pressured by the head of TRM. Turcanu describes the accusations as “unfounded.”
The letter, published on March 24, on the Telegram Index channel, is addressed to the TRM’s SDC. The complainant writes that the director of the company “since December, when he was appointed to the position, began intimidation and harassment at work, initiated an unacceptable management style and methods, which damage my dignity at work. The terror began because I refused, at the request of the general manager, to dismiss troublesome employees.”
The chairman of TRM’s SDC, Arcadie Gherasim, told Media Azi that Oxana Busuioc-Toma had not formally lodged the complaint with the Council, as the document was sent to members by email. According to Gherasim, it would signify a lack of discipline: “She was asked for some documents that she refused to provide to the administration according to the law. This is where it all started,” Gherasim explained.
Turcanu confirmed that Oxana Busuioc-Toma is suspended from her post, as she is the subject of two investigations, but said he would provide more details once they were completed.
MPs approved in the second reading amendments to the AMSC and the Electronic Communications Law, providing for the completion of the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial TV.
According to a Parliament press release, among the objectives set out in the document are the exploitation of radio spectrum resources and continued free and unrestricted access for the Moldovan population to the digital TV signal of the public companies TRM and GRT in Comrat and other providers.
The authors of the initiative expect an increase in the number of TV channels that will be available free over the air and increased competition in the pay-TV market.
The financial means needed to implement the project are provided for in the state budget for 2022.
|In a March 10 decision, the Constitutional Court (CC) has declared unconstitutional the text of the audiovisual law which stipulates that private media service providers can only operate as commercial companies. Thus, TV and radio stations founded by non-commercial organizations will be able to provide linear audiovisual media services.|
The author of the complaint is Sergiu Litvinenco, who at the time of the complaint was an MP and is currently Minister of Justice. He argued in the complaint that the provision of linear audiovisual media services only by commercial companies “establishes discriminatory treatment against non-commercial organizations” and contravenes several articles of the Constitution.
Recall, in June 2020, Sergiu Litvinenco, as an MP, requested a constitutional review of some provisions of the then new law on non-commercial organizations, which prohibited media outlets founded by NGOs to provide services to electoral contestants during the campaign and thus receive income from election advertising. The CC partially upheld the parliamentarian’s complaint in October of the same year. Thus, the media outlets founded by NGOs were granted the right to provide services to candidates during the election campaign for a fee.
|Parliament voted in second reading on the draft law on advertising. The initiative was supported at the plenary session on March 17, with 58 votes from Action and Solidarity Party MPs. 16 MPs from the Communist and Socialist Bloc voted against it.|
The document regulates the establishment and implementation of the legal regime of public interest messages, requirements for ensuring transparency in the advertising market, and self-regulation in the field of advertising and political advertising during the non-election period, among other things.
It provides, inter alia, for the establishment and implementation of the legal regime for political advertising during the extra-electoral period (which does not currently exist), establishes who cannot be a provider of political advertising, and clarifies that payment for political advertising broadcasting services can only be made by bank transfer.
The draft law is part of a broad campaign by the IJC to amend the Advertising Law and improve the legal framework in the media sector.
|The BC has fined NTV Moldova 10,000 lei (about 500 euro) for repeated violations of the rules on ensuring accurate information, as set out in the AMSC, in the January 23 broadcast “Hovye Russkiye Sensatsii: ‘Ya vam ne Petya!’”(from Russian, New Russian sensations: I’m not Petya). The broadcast was monitored at the request of BC member Eugeniu Ribca.|
The edition reports on the return to Ukraine of the country’s former president Petro Poroshenko and his conflict with the current president Volodomyr Zelensky. According to the BC, the program promotes the idea that Volodomyr Zelensky “started an economic, political and information terror, acting as a dictator for his own people.” The members of the BC justified their decision on the grounds that this is not the first such violation committed by NTV Moldova. According to the monitoring report, “both the message launched by the audiovisual program in question and the way the journalist is presented are aggressive and insulting – at times obscene – and are aimed at amplifying the feeling of hatred, chaos and political instability in the Ukrainian state.”
|The BC has fined 12 TV stations a total of 198,000 lei (about 9,750 euro) for an insufficient number of local audiovisual programs (including in Romanian) and a lack of translations or subtitles for films. The highest fines were imposed on Cinema 1 (53,000 lei, or 2600 euro), RTR Moldova (38,000 lei, or 1900 euro) and PEH Moldova (35,000 lei, or 1700 euro). Bravo TV was fined 5,000 lei (250 euro) for failing to provide the recordings requested by the Authority.|
The decision was taken at the March 2 BC meeting in response to a number of petitions (in total, 30) from the Employers’ Association of Broadcasters of Moldova and the proposal to monitor ex officio all TV stations that committed violations on the subject in 2021. The proposal came from the vice-president of BC, Aneta Gonta.
The monitoring took place in two randomly selected periods (January 17-23 and January 24-30, 2022).
On March 2, the BC has sanctioned several TV stations for their reporting on the security crisis in the region. NTV Moldova was publicly warned and fined a total of 15,000 lei (€750), Primul in Moldova – 20,000 lei (€1,000), and RTR Moldova – 5,000 lei (€250).
The monitoring data showed that NTV Moldova had in recent days stopped retransmitting programs from the Russian Federation, replacing them with films or entertainment. However, the broadcaster violated several rules on ensuring correct information of the public in its news bulletins. It did not ensure a clear distinction between facts and opinions, and it did not respect the requirements of correct broadcasting of a vox populi.
RTR Moldova has also stopped broadcasting debates and programs retransmitted from the Russian Federation. According to the BC, RTR Moldova resorted to omissions in the programs broadcast. “Assuming that the beneficiaries would have been informed only from this source, they were informed incompletely in a distorted and one-sided manner,” concluded the members of the BC.
The second monitoring was carried out between February 11 and 15 and concerned the prime-time broadcasts of the following five channels: Moldova 1, Prime TV, Jurnal TV, NTV Moldova and Primul in Moldova. In the cases of Moldova 1, Jurnal TV, and Prime TV, no deviations were detected. NTV Moldova did not present the recordings of the broadcasts to the authority, claiming that they were not kept for technical reasons, for which it was fined 5,000 lei (250 euro).
Primul in Moldova violated several provisions of the media legislation in their reporting on events in Ukraine and was fined 20,000 lei (1000 euro).
|The BC has fined the channels Primul in Moldova and NTV Moldova a total of 50,000 lei (2,500 euro) for violating the rules on correct reporting on the situation in Ukraine. The sanctions were imposed at a March 11 meeting, after the members of the BC examined two monitoring reports.|
The first monitoring report covered all broadcasting programs of five TV channels from February 21 to February 22. The BC found no violations of the legislation in the cases of Moldova 1, Jurnal TV, and Prime.
Instead, NTV Moldova violated the principle of correctly informing the public by broadcasting several speeches, including speeches from a Security Council meeting at which Russian President Vladimir Putin on “the reasons for recognizing the independence of the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.” BC representatives said these accusations were not balanced with Ukraine’s view. Similarly, the TV channel First in Moldova, in the same period, did not present Ukraine’s position in the February 22 Vremya broadcast, in which several deputies of the Russian State Duma presented their views on supporting the vote for independence of the eastern Ukrainian regions.
The majority of the members of the BC voted in favor of sanctioning NTV Moldova and Primul in Moldova 20,000 lei each (1000 euro).
The second monitoring report concerned only the broadcasts of Primul in Moldova. Monitoring took place between February 24 and 27. The monitoring data showed that Primul in Moldova did not broadcast any news, debate, or analysis programs from the Russian Federation during the period in question. With respect to local content, however, the station committed two repeated violations concerning the principle of correctly informing viewers and was fined another 10,000 lei (500 euros).
|The BC has fined RTR Moldova 10,000 lei (500 euro) for violations detected in the “Vesti Nedeli” bulletin on events in Ukraine and another 10,000 lei for failing to submit the recordings requested by the Council. NTV Moldova, which committed several errors in one of its news bulletins – including in the story about alleged “American” biological laboratories in Ukraine – was fined 25,000 lei (1250 euro) and issued a public warning. The sanctions were imposed at a March 17 meeting.|
In the case of the program “Vesti Nedeli,” which is broadcast from the Russian Federation by RTR Moldova, the monitoring results showed that most of the topics referring to events in Ukraine are covered one-sidedly, with biased and unproven accusations. “The second or alternative source has either been omitted or is presented formally,” the BC report said.
Monitoring of NTV Moldova found code violations in four items in the news bulletin broadcast on the evening of March 9. In one of them titled “Ukraine, biological polygon,” the station claimed that alleged biological laboratories in Ukraine were “American,” misquoting US State Department Deputy Secretary General Victoria Nuland. BC members also found the word “polygon” in the news headline inappropriate, as well as the fact that the story presented the positions of China and Russia on the subject but lacked the position of Ukraine.
|The BC has issued five public warnings to radio stations HIT FM and Radio Alla for violations identified in news-analytical material about the armed conflict in Ukraine that was taken from Sputnik Moldova. The sanctions were imposed at a meeting on March 23.|
The monitoring report, which covered the period from February 24 to 27, found that both HIT FM and Radio Alla broadcast “exactly the same news content produced by the Sputnik Moldova studio.” Moreover, these stories on the armed conflict in Ukraine were “presented one-sidedly and which cannot be considered balanced in their coverage of the security crisis in the region.” Most of the material “placed the Russian Federation in a positive light” and omitted all relevant opposing views, “which is not in line with broadcasting legislation,” said Victoria Stetcaia, head of radio monitoring at the BC.
Representatives of the two stations informed the Council that they will not broadcast Sputnik Moldova news from March 1. As this was their first such violation, BC President Liliana Vitu-Esanu proposed that they be sanctioned only with a public warning. Thus, each station received five such public warnings.
|RTR Moldova TV station has been fined 10,000 lei (500 euro) for failing to include the opinion of Ukrainian representatives to Russian military accusations about the fire at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in a news report. RTR Moldova was also fined 16,000 lei (750 euro) for twice exceeding of the number of advertising breaks. The fines were imposed after the members of the BC examined the results of the monitoring of RTR Moldova’s “Vesti Moldova” March 3 and March 4 news bulletins at a meeting on March 23. According to the monitoring report, the station presented the statements of the representatives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation without also presenting the official position of the Ukrainian side. Similarly, the Russian side’s accusations about the fire at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant – that it was “a provocation by Ukraine” – were not confirmed by conclusive evidence. At the same time, a statement by the President of Ukraine on the fire was “taken out of context and presented in segments.”|
BC specialists also recorded two advertising breaks on both days monitored, which exceeded the volume allowed in this timeframe.
|The BC has fined Bravo TV a total of 56,000 lei (2800 euro) for four violations, including a lack of local and Romanian-language products. The decision was taken at the meeting on March 30 following monitoring carried out in response to a complaint lodged by BC member Eugeniu Ribca.|
The BC monitored Bravo TV from February 28 to March 6. The monitoring report states that during the period in question, the regional TV station had to broadcast at least four hours of its own production, 80 percent of which was in Romanian. Moreover, no cartoons were dubbed in Romanian. The BC experts also found that the broadcaster used a logo other than the one approved by the BC.
Thus, Bravo TV was fined 29,000 lei, because the children’s films broadcast repeatedly did not dub the films in Romanian. Another 14,000 lei fine was issued for not broadcasting local audiovisual programs in Romanian. Other repeated violations included the incorrect use of the logo (8,000 lei) and failure to show videos (5,000 lei). The Council gave the broadcaster one month to remedy the identified problems.
On March 30, the BC examined the results of the monitoring of several TV stations’ main news bulletins regarding Ukrainian refugees. The monitoring was carried out at the request of the President of the BC, Liliana Vitu-Esanu.
Between March 14 and March 20, the Monitoring Department of the BC monitored the news broadcasts of Moldova 1, Moldova 2, Radio Moldova, NTV Moldova, Primul in Moldova, TVR Moldova, Prime TV, TV8, Publika TV, Canal 2, Canal 3, TV6, Jurnal TV and Pro TV Chisinau. Of these, only two – Primul in Moldova and TV 6 – have committed violations of Article 13 of the Audiovisual Media Services Code, concerning the promulgation of correct information.
According to the monitoring report, Primul in Moldova failed to separate facts from opinions in the March 14 story “Waves of refugees in the police stations,” and TV6 failed to show impartiality and good faith in the March 14 story “Shor Party wants transparency in spending money allocated to refugees.”
Previously, both channels were publicly warned for derogations from Article 13 of the code. No sanctions were imposed at the March 30 meeting, as, according to the members of the BC, the violations “did not directly concern the subject of monitoring.”
|Invited to the Media Azi show, journalists Viorica Tataru and Andrei Captarenco, talked about their war journalism experience during the first two weeks of their stay in Ukraine. The two journalists, who are currently back in Ukraine, describe the hot moments they experienced there, the lessons they learned and gave advice to their colleagues in Moldova on how to behave in such situations and how to cover war stories.|
|In 2022, the Moldovan media will continue to face problems that have become traditional. These include the influence of politically affiliated holding companies, a lack of financial resources, the exodus of labor, and the shortage of qualified staff. Similarly, the media will have to cope with the effects of Covid-19 and continue the process of adapting to the realities of the pandemic. These are the conclusions reached by the authors of the study “Media Market in the Republic of Moldova: Realities and Trends,” which was launched by the IJC on February 28.|
The study “Media Market in the Republic of Moldova: Realities and Trends” is an innovative and comprehensive review of the media situation in our country, providing reference data on audiovisual, print, online and social media. The research defines the media market and presents a general analysis of market segments from the perspective of internal and external factors that stimulate or hinder market development, describes the competitive landscape (with a focus on market leaders and deals that have changed the market in recent years, ratings/popularity, founders/end beneficiaries, audience figures, turnover figures, etc.). It also analyses the potential of the advertising market (trends and growth rates, market influencers, key players in the market (advertising customers, and main promotion channels) and consumer profiles and preferences in terms of demographic factors.
The study was developed in the framework of the project “Strengthening Media Sustainability in Moldova”, implemented by the Independent Journalism Centre and funded by the US Embassy in Moldova. The findings and conclusions are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Embassy in Moldova.
|According to the IJC study “Media Market in the Republic of Moldova: Realities and Trends,” the media market in the Republic of Moldova continues to be dominated by television with a 53 percent market share. Television is followed by online media (28 percent), street advertising (12 percent), print media (four percent) and radio (three percent).|
In terms of consumption, an analysis conducted by the Association of Advertising Agencies of Moldova (AAAM) for the period 2018-2020 shows that in 2021, TV saw an increase of four percentage points in daily consumption, from 50 percent in 2019 to 54 percent in 2020. Increases were also recorded in weekly consumption (17 percent in 2018 compared to 26 percent in 2020), while the rate of those who do not consume TV decreased by 2 percentage points (from 19 percent to 17 percent).
In 2021, the highest market shares, according to AAAM which cites the AGB Nielsen measure, were held by the following four channels: Primul in Moldova (9.8 percent), RTR Moldova (9.7 percent), Prime (8.6 percent) and NTV Moldova (8.1%). Moldova 1, Canal 2, Jurnal TV, Publika TV, Canal 3, Pro TV and TV 6 are in the next places with percentages between 2 and 4 percent.
In the top 4, two stations are represented by Exclusiv Sales House, and one each by Casa Media and Nova TV.
|The Independent Journalism Centre and the Embassy Office of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are launching the second edition of the Tulip Press Awards competition to recognize journalists’ efforts to explore human rights issues in their journalistic and photographic materials. The competition is organized in the context of Press Freedom Days, traditionally marked in May.|
The event aims to encourage photojournalists and journalists to address in their journalistic materials (photographic and written) various topics related to the respect of human rights, in order to raise awareness of human rights issues in the Republic of Moldova.
The competition has two sections: Photography and Online Press/Print. In the Photography section, participants will submit two photographs (color or black and white, digital, or print format), taken between 1 April 2021 and 15 April 2022. For the Online Press/Print section, journalists must submit 2 pieces of journalistic material in online or print format, produced, and published during the same period. More information on the rules for entering the competition and the prizes offered by the organizers can be found HERE.
The competition is organised by the IJC with the financial support of the Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
|The Mediacritica portal published several analyses during March, in which it found that a number of TV channels overlooked the war in Ukraine, a relevant topic at the moment. The authors of the materials describe this as “manipulation by omission.”|
In her March 10 analysis “What we (don’t) learn from NTV Moldova, First in Moldova and Accent TV about the war in Ukraine,” journalist Victoria Dodon notes that viewers who faithfully watched the broadcasts of the three socialist-affiliated channels “were hardly informed about the course of the military conflict.” She notes that journalists have resorted to the technique of omission – the process of glossing over a subject of public interest, which can manifest itself either by ignoring it altogether or by omitting relevant details.
On March 14, the second analysis published by journalist Viorica Zaharia and entitled “The MIR company in the midst of war, mouthpiece of Russia and Belarus,” also deals with falsification by omission. In the news-analytical programme “Vmeste/Împreună”, broadcast on Sunday, it was announced that Russia started a “special military operation” to defend civilians, and some sanctions against Russia were presented as measures that will harm the West as well. The author notes that the broadcast did not put Ukraine’s position on air and said nothing about the bombings in Kharkov and Kiev following the “special military operation.”
On March 29, the portal published the article “The bulletin of the day on 5 TV stations: from fairness to malice is only ‘an omission’.” Among other things, the author notes that most outlets known in the past for promoting a pro-Russian Federation editorial policy have chosen to adopt “ostrich tactics” in reporting news about the conflict in Ukraine. “… Not to report on the issue is to deprive the public of information that literally affects their lives,” the author of the analysis concludes.
The materials were produced as part of the project “Combating Propaganda and Manipulation through Media Education 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.
|Between February 21 and 25, the IJC monitored and analyzed informative, analytical and/or military audiovisual programs retransmitted from the Russian Federation by national audiovisual media service providers – TV stations Primul in Moldova/Perviy Kanal, NTV Moldova/HTB and RTR Moldova/Rossiya – РТР. Two of them (Primul in Moldova/Perviy Kanal and NTV Moldova/HTB) are located in Multiplex A with national coverage, which, according to official data, would cover more than 98 percent of the population.|
Thus, the IJC monitoring revealed the extensive use of several techniques of propaganda and manipulation of public opinion, including a repetitive approach to the same topics; negative portrayals of Ukraine, USA, EU and international structures and positive portrayals of the Russian Federation; positive labelling for the Russian Federation and negative labelling for Ukraine; use of the image of the enemy, relevant especially for the USA, EU, and NATO; and the use of hate speech.
In conclusion, the case study demonstrates that the news, military, and political programs broadcast from the Russian Federation are full of propaganda, do not comply with the legal provisions of the national legislation, and represent a risk for the information space of Moldova.
|The IJC monitored the content published by 41 media outlets from February 22 to 25. In doing so, the IJC determined the credibility of these portals and compiled their ratings on the Media Radar platform. The results were announced in four stages, on March 2, 4, 7 and 9.|
The 41 portals monitored by the expert evaluators are: Actualitati.md, Cotidianul.md, Esp.md, Newsmaker.md, Omg.md, Tuk.md, Gazetadechisinau.md, Moldova24.info, Nokta.md, Zdg.md, Timpul.md, Moldova.org, Tv8.md, Ziarulnational.md, Gagauzinfo.md, Ntv.md, Telegraph.md, Ipn.md, Infotag.md, Grt.md, Mold-street. com, Observatorul.md, Diez.md, Rtr.md, Tribuna.md, Aif.md, Nordnews.md, Primelestiri.md, Trm.md, Agora.md, Unimedia.info, Deschide.md, Noi.md, Protv.md, A-tv.md, Jurnal.md, Realitatea.md, Kp.md, Publika.md, Expresul.md and Replicamedia.md.
The data is available on both the Media Radar app and the Media Radar platform.
In the coming months, the Independent Journalism Centre will conduct a new round of monitoring of media portals.
|A new project recently launched by the IJC, which will run for three years (2022-2025), introduces an innovative approach to ensure more visibility for socially vulnerable and marginalized groups.|
Information, training, and human rights promotion activities will be initiated to support them.
The IJC will organize a multimedia lab and a hackathon with the participation of socially vulnerable and marginalized groups, which will result in the creation and launch of tools, applications, and platforms that promote diversity and inclusion and lead to a higher level of participation of these groups in public life and decision-making processes.
The IJC will also organize media literacy workshops for representatives of socially vulnerable and marginalized groups in various locations across the country.
Within the framework of this project, the IJC will carry out a broad information campaign with the aim of contributing to the reduction of existing stereotypes about these groups and to the improvement of society’s attitude towards vulnerable groups.
The project ” Building cohesion in Moldova through promoting social inclusion and diminishing discrimination” is carried out by the Independent Journalism Centre in the framework of the “Joint Equal Opportunities Initiative – Phase II” program, implemented with resources provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
|Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, dozens of journalistic materials have appeared on TV and online media featuring children affected by the armed conflict. Most of the children appear in dramatic poses, crying, visibly distraught and disoriented. Some are even covered in blood. Are these videos an exploitation of the tragedy of some people in order for journalists to interview war-affected children fleeing their country, sleeping in basements, sitting in the dark and hiding from explosions? Should their identities be revealed or not? To answer these and other questions, journalist Ana Sirbu, author of Podcast cuMINTE, a project of the IJC, interviewed several experts in the field – journalists, psychologists, lawyers, civil society representatives.|
From a social point of view, a child can be affected if his or her right to identity protection is not respected, says child protection policy expert Lorina Ghitu. Journalist Svetlana Gore, who reports on social issues for TVR Moldova, says the war needs to be reported from all angles. Journalists must also write about the plight of children, because they are part of the conflict without their will.
Press Council member Natalia Porubin refers to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which clearly states that every minor has the right to express his/her views and opinions, either personally or through a guardian / representative. But interviews must always take place in a safe, confidential, comfortable environment. Psychologist Silvia Strogotean shares Natalia Porubin’s views on the impact of interviewing a minor under stress. And another guest on the show, Judge Vladislav Holban, says law enforcement bodies do not recommend broadcasting the image of a child in a negative context, as this is a violation of national and international legal frameworks.
The cuMINTE podcast is produced by the Independent Journalism Center with support from 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
|In April and May 2022, the IJC will organize four media literacy training courses for primary, secondary and high school teachers. Two training courses will take place online and two offline. The training programs are based on the curricula for the optional Media Literacy course at the three levels of education, developed by the IJC and approved by the National Curriculum Council.|
The trainings will take place in April – primary level, trainers: Loretta Handrabura and Natalia Griu (online); secondary level, trainers: Loretta Handrabura and Natalia Griu (offline); and in May – secondary level, trainers: Loretta Handrabura and Natalia Griu (offline); secondary level, trainers: Natalia Griu and Dumitru Stoianov (online, taught in Russian). Participation form: HERE.
The training programs at primary and secondary level are organized within the project “Strengthening Media Literacy Skills”, with the support of Deutsche Welle Akademie and the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the training programs at secondary level are carried out within the project “Media in Support of Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M), funded by USAID and UK, and implemented by Internews.
|The war in Ukraine has presented journalists with new challenges – how and where to get information to cover events accurately, how to verify information appearing in cyberspace, which websites are credible, etc. These topics were discussed during an online training organized by the Independent Journalism Centre on March 4 and 5. Around 30 Moldovan journalists participated in the event.|
On the first day of the training, journalist Catalin Gombos, editor-in-chief of the Veridica.ro portal in Romania, shared his experience of reporting events in times of crisis, including in the context of military operations, as he previously was a war correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among other things, he advised journalists reporting from newsrooms to get their information from reliable international media sources such as CNN, BBC, Reuters, AFP, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, or France 24, which usually have war correspondents on the ground and special information verification desks.
On the second day of the training, the journalists met with Lieutenant-Colonel Ianac Deli, Deputy Commander of the 2nd Brigade and the former commander of the 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion of the National Army of the Republic of Moldova. He told them how to do their research before going to conflict zones, what are the basic necessities they should have on hand when they go on such a mission, who to call in emergency situations, and how to get medical aid, among other things.
Another guest at the training was Lilia Munteanu, Lieutenant-Colonel and senior specialist in the Psychological Assistance Service of the National Army of the Republic of Moldova. She talked about techniques for overcoming panic, stress, or panic attacks.
The training program was carried out by the Independent Journalism Centre as part of the project “Media in Support of Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M), funded by USAID, UK and implemented by Internews in Moldova.
|On March 25, a group of 32 junior civil servants from local public authorities, audited at the Academy of Public Administration (AAP), participated in a new training organized by the IJC in partnership with AAP.|
Cristina Durnea, IJC legal advisor and the trainer for this course, told the AAP audience about the legislation they should follow when dealing with requests from media representatives, the rules for receiving, registering, and redirecting requests for information, and the cases in which they can refuse a request for information.
The participants were also informed about the vicious practice of excessive and unjustified anonymization of data in documents published in the Register of Local Acts, including the tax code of the authority, the name and signature of the mayor, the name of the legal entity, the amounts of public budgets, etc.
These lessons are part of a program launched in 2019 in accordance with a cooperation agreement signed between the two institutions.
The IJC is part of the USAID-funded Media in Support of Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova (MEDIA-M) project, funded by USAID, UK and implemented by Internews in Moldova, which aims to promote the development of independent and professional media and create a media sector more resilient to political and economic pressures.