Seven media NGOs, including the Independent Journalism Center, have signed a statement expressing their concern about the attempts of the Balti City Hall to restrict media access to information b setting unreasonable fees for accessing information of public interest.
Thus, on October 12, journalists from TV Nord asked the City Hall of Balti the list of persons who donated money to the City Hall and the amount of these donations. The City Hall responded after 29 working days, in violation of the 15-days legal deadline. Reporters were told that they had to pay 950 lei to receive this information. The reply referred to an act signed by Mayor Grigorshin, according to which such information can be given to journalists only against payment.
The signatories of the statement described the act signed by Mayor Grigorishin as an “abusive and unjustified restriction of journalists’ access to information of public interest” and called on the provider to abandon practices that undermine the mechanism for monitoring the work of public authorities. At the same time, they asked the Territorial Office of the State Chancellery to monitor the implementation of the provisions of this act and to refer the matter directly to the administrative court.
The presidential institution announces in a short press release that the official Telegram channel of President Maia Sandu has been hacked.
The presidency says it refutes “the veracity of the latest posts”, without providing further details.
President Maia Sandu’s Telegram channel has over 12,400 subscribers.
According to Agora.md, the Telegram account of Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu was also hacked. The source states that the posted message referred to acts of corruption.
Telegram channel Prima Sursa writes that “as a result, several false information was placed on these accounts. Efforts are now underway to eliminate the consequences of these cyber-attacks and restore the integrity of the social media accounts.”
Journalists, editors, media managers, editorial staff from the Republic of Moldova, representatives of media organizations and associations, advertising agencies, and academics attended Media Forum 2022 of the Republic of Moldova. The event took place on November 22-23 in Chisinau.
The Media Forum is convened annually and includes discussion of pressing issues of the Moldovan journalistic community, aimed at strengthening editorial independence and the quality of the press. Journalists and experts from the country and abroad and representatives of public institutions and regulatory authorities took part in the debates on the situation of the media in Moldova, wartime journalism, and access to information of public interest.
Among the topics discussed in the workshops were harassment of journalists online, the phenomenon of “copy paste”, avoiding and managing conflict of interest, moderating hate speech, and professional burnout.
At Media Forum 2022, Freedom House held a panel discussion presenting the release of its second annual Access to Information report, which measures the change in the performance of public institutions in ensuring the right to information. The report’s results reveal that the legislation and implementation of the right of information in Moldova continue to come short of international standards and best practices. Systemic deficiencies in the disclosure of public information as well as inadequate institutional compliance threaten government accountability and require a comprehensive legislative framework that prioritizes proactive transparency and stronger, coordinated enforcement mechanisms. Freedom House also showcased its new Media Policy Brief by Lilia Cravenco-Zaharia titled “The Society-Wide Battle Against Disinformation in Moldova.”
This year, the Media Forum also hosted two special events: the first was dedicated to the impact of journalism and investigative journalism with the launch of the “Black Book of the Waste of Public Money 2022” and the announcement of the results of the “Investigative Journalism of the Year 2022” competition, and the second was the announcement of the winners of the first edition of the “Journalists for Diversity and Inclusion” competition.
The 2022 edition of the Media Forum was organized by the Press Council of Moldova and Freedom House, in partnership with the Independent Press Association, the Independent Journalism Center and the Electronic Press Association. The event was generously supported by the Soros Foundation Moldova, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the British Embassy in Chisinau (through the project „Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova”/MEDIA-M, implemented by Internews Moldova, Freedom House and the Independent Journalism Centre), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Southeast Europe and DW Akademie (Germany).
Media Forum 2022 revealed the most serious problems facing the journalism industry.
More than four years after the final reading of the National Concept for the Development of the Media in the Republic of Moldova, which should be used as a reference document for public policy in this field, the authorities have not yet approved a program or an action plan for the implementation of the Concept. Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei, chairwoman of the parliamentary committee responsible for the media, told the Media Forum that the program and action plan remain a priority for the current session of the legislature.
“All this has happened in Moldova, but in Moldova we first start on the road and then we think about where we want to go,” said Ion Bunduchi, president of the Electronic Press Association.
In his opinion, the process is dragging out because the implementation of the documents depends on several key decision-makers, such as the government, parliament, and regulators, and consequently, “the coordination of these joint actions is a big challenge, which no government has overcome.” The expert considers it necessary to create an entity to deal with media policies and to take on the coordination of processes.
Chairwoman Nicolaescu-Onofrei agreed with the suggestion to create such an institution to coordinate public media policy. In her opinion, this structure should be located within the Ministry of Culture, following the model of other countries. At the same time, she says that the program of measures and an action plan for the implementation of the Concept will be discussed during the current parliamentary session.
Unfair competition in the advertising market has not disappeared, co-founder of TV8 Mariana Rata told the Media Forum. On the other hand, President of the Competition Council Alexei Ghertescu said at the same event that the institution he heads has limitations that do not allow it to investigate the facts reported in the press about unfair competition.
Mariana Rata stressed during the debate that advertising money is very important for the media. “If you can get it honestly, you have independent press, but if you don’t have legal, honest sources of funding, you become a press that is vulnerable, easy to manipulate, easy to buy, and easy to influence,” she said. The journalist reminded the authorities of their commitment to the real demonopolization of the media, including the liberalization of the advertising market, to ensure conditions for the sustainable development of the independent press. She noted that the media still operated in conditions of unfair competition. “More than 70% of advertising budgets, which are still very small, go to [external] media outlets broadcasting in Moldova. Most of them are Russian TV stations. The advertising money, which should develop the domestic product, does not stay in Moldova. This is not only a problem for the media, but also for you, dear government,” said the TV8 journalist.
Ghertescu acknowledged that there are several challenges in the advertising sector. However, he said that the work of the institution he heads has certain limitations, which do not allow him to investigate the facts reported in the press about unfair competition. “We want to get involved when we have the information, when we have data on certain violations of competition law. The problem is that when there is a discussion that in a certain market there has been a certain unannounced merger, apart from statements in the press, we don’t receive any information,” he said.
According to Ghertescu, better communication between the institution and the journalistic profession is needed, as many problems arise from the media’s misunderstanding of the Competition Council’s tasks. “Communication is lacking at the moment,” said the Competition Council president.
At the Forum, the subject of insufficient access to information held by the Public Services Agency (PSA) was also discussed during debates with journalists and representatives of state institutions and regulators.
Co-founder of media project CU SENS Liuba Shevciuc highlighted among the problems physical access to the register of companies and non-governmental organizations managed by the PSA, a paid service that investigative journalists use quite often. “In practice, access is partly restricted and sometimes even denied. There is no clear explanation why. In the meantime, the procedure has also been changed, making it even more complicated. More than a year ago, when the government changed, we were promised free access to the databases. We continue to pay. And so, we are still struggling financially. But we are working hard to identify financial resources to access the databases,” said Liuba Shevciuc.
PSA Director Mircea Esanu says that “there are a few factors that influence the speed at which we move in this direction,” one of them being the National Center for Personal Data Protection (CNPDCP). The PSA director says that much of the information of public interest has already been digitized, such as the Cadastre. However, there are about “180,000 files of law units that are exclusively on paper, and for the state this is a great vulnerability,” explained Esanu.
The PSA director said that a temporary solution for access to the Register of Legal Units by e-mail will be announced shortly until the new register is available. “We will no longer require the physical presence of the person at the PSA office. We will scan and mail documents electronically. But the question arises: what will remain in the paperwork and in the interpretation of the CNPDCP? We will also find ourselves in a situation where we have to redact half of a document, just like in court decisions,” said Esanu. In this context, he pointed out that the fees paid by journalists are specified down in the legal code, and the PSA has no decision-making role.
During the debate at the Media Forum, some newspaper editors pointed out that the State Enterprise Posta Moldovei (Post of Moldova) has not yet announced the tariffs for the distribution of newspapers. An SOS signal from newspaper publishers to Posta Moldovei was sent by Director of Soroca newspaper Observatorul de Nord Elena Cobasneanu. “What we are facing now is outrageous. For a year, we have been told that tariffs will increase. Since March, I have personally been calling to ask when the new tariffs will be announced so that we can prepare for next year’s subscription campaign. The answer we get from the Post of Moldova is: ‘We’re not ready yet.’” Cobasneanu was also alarmed by the increase in tariffs.
Acting Director of the Post of Moldova Roman Cojuhari, who attended the event, admitted that a problem exists, but that, according to him, the proposed tariffs for 2023 do not cover even 30% of the costs that the company has incurred for the distribution of written press. He added that the Post of Moldova, even if it is a state enterprise, “in order to exist and develop, […] must have a commercial, corporate approach.”
According to him, “the Post of Moldova understands the situation of newsrooms very well. Regarding the delay, yes, I admit, the subscription campaign is late. But the contracts have already been sent to the publications. On my part, you have all the support and involvement so that in December we can cover those days and weeks lost so far,” said Cojuhari.
The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (PA) has announced that it will require journalists to be accredited in the process of communicating with the institution’s representatives starting November 4. According to a protocol made public, the new rules are intended “to help prosecutors carry out their duties without being involved in statements or exchange of opinions.” But some journalists say the decision could hamper news outlets.
The document introduces the nominal accreditation of journalists, which requires each newsroom to send the institution an official application, details of the reporter’s name, telephone number and email address, and a copy of their press card. Based on this information, the Public Prosecutor’s Office is to decide on the issue of accreditation and notify the newsroom within five working days of receiving the documents.
At the same time, the PA asks that requests for information be sent via email and makes a distinction between urgent requests and those that require an extensive response. In the first case, for example, such as confirmation or denial of actions or statements made by prosecutors, the subject line of the email sent should indicate “URGENT.” Responses to such requests should be provided as quickly as institutional circumstances allow, the document says. In the case of more detailed information, the request for information should be made in a separate document with an electronic signature.
Although prosecutors’ representatives say the proposed rules do not override legal provisions on access to information and are not intended to limit it, some initiatives have caused general discontent among journalists. Some argue that the decision on accreditation risks are hindering their professional work. “News outlets are facing a shortage of staff and a continuous flow of new reporters, which would mean that we would have to send frequent requests to be issued such accreditations. In addition, some events of public interest are announced [only] an hour or two in advance, [or even sooner], and the accredited reporter may be in the field in the north or south of the country. So what does the news outlet do? They risk missing the story,” says co-founder of media project CU SENS Liuba Shevciuc.
Editor-in-chief of Ziarul de Garda Victor Mosneag shares Shevciuc’s fears and believes that the initiative should have been discussed with journalists first. “I understand that it’s not normal for a prosecutor to respond all day to dozens of requests from journalists, but I don’t think the solutions proposed by the PA solve the problem. I think a discussion was needed before this decision was taken, so that both sides could have their say. A unilateral decision does not speak at all for transparency,” says Mosneag.
The State Chancellery of the Republic of Moldova approved an instruction in early November on how to depersonalize administrative acts in the State Register of Local Acts. The aim of the document is to ensure proportionality between the right of access to information of public interest and the right to privacy.
The document is by way of recommendation and serves as methodological support for public officials.
President of the Association for the Protection of Private Life, Sergiu Bozianu, who helped draft it, says that initially the documents were published in the register without being properly anonymized. Subsequently, the National Centre for Personal Data Protection (CNPDCP) intervened with several sanctions, encouraging public institutions to adopt their own regulations. According to him, this instruction comes to bring more clarity and help officials understand what can be anonymized and what data should remain public.
In recent years, journalists who have accessed the State Register of Local Acts have alleged that documents in the database are overly depersonalized. Independent Journalism Centre lawyer Cristina Durnea says “journalists are among the frequent victims of these practices. Documenting material is a real challenge when the anonymized documents are no longer of any informational value.” She expressed the hope that the provisions of this guideline will become known and applied correctly in practice.
In Moldova, one in three women has experienced violence, and appropriate media coverage of the issue could help prevent and eliminate this phenomenon from society, say UN Women representatives. On the other hand, some journalists admit that the subject is not covered as much as it should be by the media, citing several problems. The topic was discussed at an event called “The Role of the Media in Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls,” organized on November 18 by UN Women and UNICEF in partnership with the Independent Press Association. It was part of the global campaign “16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2022.
Participants discussed the extent of violence in our country and how journalists could contribute to reducing it.
According to Editor of Ziarul de Garda Alina Radu, violence against women is the most frequent violation of women’s rights in the Republic of Moldova and should therefore be a headline topic. However, for various reasons, media representatives do not often go to victims’ homes to talk to them and help them defend their rights. In large part, this is due to the lack of human resources facing media outlets.
TV8’s Sergiu Niculita admitted that stories about violence are difficult to produce, especially for novice reporters. “Not all reporters are psychologists, and you have to talk to the victim in such a way that you don’t harm them; you don’t have to justify the aggressor, but a beginner can put the wrong emphasis so that the aggressor looks like the victim; you always have to be careful about the presumption of innocence,” he said.
Another participant in the discussion, Ludmila Barbu from Moldova 1, recalled that some MPs did not vote for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which commits the Moldovan authorities to punish violence against women accordingly. The document, which entered into force in May 2022, was adopted by 54 votes. “The other MPs, who did not vote, what are their opinions?” she wondered, suggesting that violence is a social problem, and it is not only the media that should be concerned about it, but also state institutions.
The press councils of Armenia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Moldova, Norway, and Sweden have announced the suspension of their membership of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils in Europe (AIPCE), following the example of their colleagues in Ukraine. The reason given by the signatories of the joint statement was the refusal of the Alliance’s Steering Committee to expel Russia’s Public Press Complaints College from the organization, at the proposal of the Ukrainian Journalism Ethics Council.
In April 2022, the Ukrainian Journalism Ethics Council proposed the expulsion of the Russian Public Press Complaints College from the AIPCE on the grounds that it has not, historically, and especially since the beginning of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, taken a stand against disinformation, manipulation and hate speech about Ukraine promoted in Russian media.
The signatories of the statement claim that there have been two attempts to vote for Russia’s exclusion from the AIPCE: during an online meeting in April and in Cyprus on October 21, but both were poorly prepared, leading to “an unnecessary confrontation that could have been avoided.” “When we realized that Ukraine would not accept Russia’s proposed downgrade to associate membership, we tried to find a quick compromise by proposing a softer option: temporary suspension of Russia’s membership. We hoped this would solve the problem. But our proposal was met with irritation in the Steering Committee, and this affected the discussion,” the statement said.
“The fact that Russia has stayed, and Ukraine has left the alliance, makes it impossible for us to find ourselves as members of the AIPCE,” the document said. The signatories of the statement called for the immediate removal of references to their press councils from the website. However, they did not rule out that they might return to the alliance if the situation changes, and Ukraine becomes a member again.
Fake news, propaganda, and disinformation are the most serious threats to the security of the state, according to almost 28% of respondents to the survey “Public Perceptions of the Security and Defense System of the Republic of Moldova,” conducted by the Platform for Security and Defense Initiatives in collaboration with the Center for Social Studies and Marketing “CBS-Research” (CBS-AXA), launched in Chisinau.
According to the same survey, 34.9% consider fake news, foreign propaganda, information warfare, and misinformation as the biggest external concerns or threats to the Republic of Moldova and the country’s citizens.
More than a third of respondents consider that the main role of the Information and Security Service (ISS) is to combat disinformation, fake news, and information warfare after their primary role of fighting against corruption and the protection of state secrets.
At the same time, the most important source for information on state security and defense remains television (55.4%), followed by the Internet and social networks (32%) and news websites (21.1%).
The survey was conducted from October 14-18 as part of the project “Combating Disinformation and Debunking Fake News in the Republic of Moldova,” with financial support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF). The sample consisted of 1,101 people aged 18 and over.
TV8 journalists Viorica Tataru and Andrei Captarenco have been honored for their civic courage by the Royal House of Romania. The event, dedicated to civic courage, took place on November 17 at Elizabeta Palace in Bucharest, in the presence of Her Majesty Margareta and His Royal Highness Radu.
“We are honored to find ourselves on the list of brave people awarded by the Royal House of Romania. It is a very important event for us and one more reason to do our work with dignity and courage,” Tataru told TV8.
“It is a great honor to be among those awarded at the Royal House, but it is also a great joy that the Royal House has removed the borders between the Republic of Moldova and Romania,” Captarenco said.
Captarenco and Tataru went to Ukraine on the very first day of the war, where they showed the world the atrocities committed by the Russian army.
TV and radio stations will be obliged to broadcast at least 80% of all local programs in Romanian, according to the Broadcasting Council (BC), which reports that new amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Code came into force on November 18.
“An exception will be made only for media providers whose audiovisual media services are intended for ethnic minorities in administrative-territorial units where an ethnic minority represents a majority share and who are obliged to broadcast at least 25% of local audiovisual programs in Romanian, as well as internally-produced audiovisual programs in the language of the respective minority,” the BC states.
Another amendment extends prime time from 6am – 9am and 5pm – 11pm to 6am – 10am and 5pm – 12am. “This will help to respect the weighting of local programs and, at the same time, to achieve a flexible and attractive program schedule for the public.”
New provisions have also been introduced concerning the annual reporting by media service providers and distributors to the BC on final beneficiaries and shareholders, sources of funding, and ensuring transparency of this information to the public. This is provided for in the Action Plan for the implementation of the measures proposed by the European Commission in its opinion on Moldova’s application for membership of the European Union.
The Broadcasting Council (BC) has publicly warned Jurnal TV following a petition filed by Head of the Department of Extreme Situations of Chisinau Vitalie Grabovski. The colonel claims that he has been slandered by the TV station’s broadcast, which he believes to be false, according to which “he is involved in the cigarette smuggling business on the Dubasari route.” The decision was taken at the Council meeting on November 21.
The BC found that Jurnal TV did not present a balanced account of the opinions of those concerned when broadcasting stories about Grabovski and thus did not ensure that consumers of audiovisual media services were correctly informed.
The BC publicly warned Jurnal TV for violating Article 13 par. 6.a of the Audiovisual Media Services Code, according to which: “In audiovisual news and debate programs, providing information on issues of public interest, of a political, economic, social or cultural nature, the following requirements must be respected: a) ensuring impartiality, balance and favoring the free formation of opinions, by presenting the main opposing points of view, during the period in which the issues are under public debate.”
On November 11, the BC examined the results of the monitoring of the program “Tema,” broadcast by the television channel Primul in Moldova on October 12. Previously, Chairperson of the Council Liliana Vitu had filed a self-report on this program, requesting a control on compliance with Article 13 of the Audiovisual Media Services Code (AMSC) which refers to ensuring correct information. The monitoring data showed that the moderator took a biased approach to the statements made by Ilan Shor, the guest on the show, and supported the politician’s opinions, which does not contribute to the free formation of opinions.
BC member Ruslan Mihalevschi drew attention to the fact that some statements made by Ilan Shor in his 56-minute interview were partly protected by freedom of expression.
According to the BC member, the interview in question “does not meet professional standards in journalism.” “I think it’s a classic example of PR, but not a journalistic product. […] It’s a one-hour publicity interview with the aim of creating a positive image of the politician,” concluded Mihalevschi.
The monitoring also detected a violation of Article 63, par. 2 of the AMSC, which refers to the obligation of the provider to make a clear distinction between editorial products and commercial content. “We have evidence that throughout the program there were such violations,” said BC vice-president Ana Gonta, referring to the commercial nature of objects in the temporary filming studio, such as leaflets, a pillow, and a flag with signs promoting the Shor Party.
By a majority vote, Primul in Moldova was fined 10,000 lei (500 euro) for violating the provisions of Article 63 par. 2 of the AMSC, according to which “audiovisual commercial communications shall be clearly identifiable and distinguishable from editorial content, and shall comply with the provisions of this Code and the Regulation on audiovisual content.”
At its November 18 meeting, the BC examined the results of the control on the modification of the identification elements of the Moldova 1 and Moldova 2 TV channels. A self-report on the matter was submitted by BC member Tatiana Crestenco. According to her, the two stations used the new identification elements without informing the Council during the test period of the new logo, which took place in October.
The BC’s Media Services Control Directorate confirmed these violations and proposed that both stations be fined between 5,000 and 10,000 lei, as provided for in Article 25(2) of the Audiovisual Media Services Code.
Although the members of the BC considered Teleradio-Moldova’s violation as minor, since the change of the logo took place during a test run, the majority of those present at the meeting voted for a fine of 5,000 lei, on the grounds that Moldova 1 and Moldova 2 are public providers and should serve as a model of compliance with audiovisual legislation for other TV stations.
The BC sanctioned TV6 and Orhei TV for violating several legal provisions concerning fairness and good faith in the Russian-language news bulletin “Vremya Novostei” (Newshour in Russian). The control was carried out following a self-report by BC member Ruslan Mihalevschi.
“We noticed a trend – the most frequent topics, in which the provider openly promotes the Shor Party, are not included in the news bulletins, but appear on the website of TV6 or Orhei TV channels,” Mihalevschi said. He also noted that on YouTube, these topics are presented with the logo of the show “Vremya Novostei,” but they do not appear on the station’s news programs. “To me, this is a sign that the provider is still promoting this political party,” Mihalevschi added.
Another practice, detected during monitoring, is omission. Some topics widely discussed in the public space, which can put the leaders or supporters of the Shor Party in a negative light, are avoided by journalists from the two stations.
In conclusion, the members of the BC found that TV6 and Orhei TV did not take into account the provisions of Article 13 of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services, ignoring the rules of fairness, good faith, rigor, and accuracy in the presentation of several topics. At the same time, several news programs monitored contained images/videos whose source was not indicated. Thus, the BC fined the company Media Resources, founder of TV 6 and Orhei TV, 20,000 lei (1,000 euro) for repeated violations of the Code on each channel, as well as a public warning.
At its meeting on November 4, BC member Ruslan Mihalevschi called for a control of the change of the final beneficiary of Telesistem TV, which owns the channels Primul in Moldova and Accent TV.
“According to the data of the State Register of Legal Entities of the Republic of Moldova, Telesistem TV SRL still has as its founder a company from the Russian Federation – Media Invest Service. At the same time, extracts from the State Register of Legal Entities of the Russian Federation show that on 7 October this year the sole partner of the company Media Invest Service changed. Instead of the company Joint Resources, the founder became Diamond Estate of Moscow. The sole founder of this company is Russian citizen Alexei Polunin,” said Mihalevschi.
He informed his colleagues and the public that the founder of the company Diamond Estate was previously Russian citizen Andrei Goncearenko. “According to press publications, 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.
In his self-complaint to the Council, he requested that the Media Services Control Directorate verify whether Telesistem TV complied with Article 25, paragraph 5 of the Audiovisual Media Services Code, according to which media service providers are obliged to request in writing to the Broadcasting Council any changes in documents and in the identification data of shareholders and associations, down to the level of natural or legal person. At the same time, according to the license conditions, the licensee is obliged to inform the BC within 30 days about the changes in the legal status and in the composition of the founders and the identification data of the holder of the broadcasting license.
|Recently, the Center for Investigative Journalism reacted with a public call for a document called “Guidelines on Access to Information through the Lens of Personal Data Protection Law.” The authors of the call say that with this document, the National Center for Personal Data Protection (CNPDCP) makes access to information even more complicated.|
The subject is discussed in a new edition of Media Azi, in which journalist Anastasia Nani spoke to President of the Association for the Protection of Privacy Sergiu Bozianu and Head of CNPDCP’s Compliance Department Denis Cotofan, the executor of the document.
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 this edition is the responsibility of the Independent Journalism Center and does not necessarily reflects the views of the UK, USAID, or the US Government.
|The sixth edition of the international World Press Photo exhibition was organized, as in previous years, by the World Press Photo Foundation of the Netherlands in partnership with the Independent Journalism Center, with the support of the Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Chisinau. The works were exhibited at the National History Museum during November 2022.|
At the launch event, which took place on November 9, Head of the Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Chisinau Floris van Eijk said that “photojournalism and documentary photography are very important for journalism. […] We support the independent press; we support quality journalism in Moldova, and this is one more reason why we support this exhibition.”
In a video message, Coordinator of the World Press Photo Exhibition Marika Cukrowski welcomed the launch of the collection in Chisinau and highlighted the importance of World Press Photo’s mission to connect the world to the stories that matter.
Executive Director of the Independent Journalism Center Nadine Gogu highlighted the growing interest in photojournalism among audiences around the world. “Evidence of this is the large number of photographers participating in this international competition. […] Their work is in the hard category, work that makes us think, question and act. The issues addressed in these photographs are relevant and satisfy the interests of different audiences,” said Gogu.
This year, out of 64,823 entries submitted by 4,066 photographers from 130 countries around the world, 24 regional winners and 4 global winners were selected from 23 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine, Russia, Sudan, and Thailand.
|The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) aims to bring together civil society organizations in the Republic of Moldova that carry out and support media literacy activities and combat misinformation and propaganda. Coalition members will contribute to the development of a national media literacy strategy, which the IJC aims to launch publicly in 2023.|
“Unlike in other countries, media literacy in Moldova is the concern of civil society, and less so of the government. We do not have an authority that would take on commitments in this field; media literacy activities are carried out by several non-governmental organizations. But some of these initiatives are scrappy, there is no coordination between them, and most of them stop exactly when the projects end. A national strategy would map out the directions of development in this sector and establish a clear action plan for all actors involved in media literacy and anti-disinformation activities,” explained IJC Executive Director Nadine Gogu.
Representatives of other organizations that have been carrying out media literacy activities for many years also agree. Executive Director of the Youth Media Center Veronica Boboc believes “it is absolutely necessary to strengthen our efforts in the field of media literacy as the tools and techniques of manipulation and disinformation become more and more varied, innovative and aggressive.” She says that acting in an uncoordinated way, without a sustainable strategy and vision, makes it difficult to achieve long-term results and to contribute to the consolidation of a critical thinking society.
Ion Creanga State Pedagogical University Lecturer Liuba Petrenco, on the other hand, argues that the formation and development of a competency, such as media literacy, is a process that takes time and requires the involvement of all educational and social actors. Ion Creanga University has been running continuous training courses in media education for teachers for several years and “is open to communication and studies in the field of media literacy,” says Petrenco.
At the end of 2021, the Baltic Center of Excellence in Media, in partnership with several organizations, including the IJC, launched the study “Comprehensive Approach on Advancing Media Literacy in the Republic of Moldova.” Most of the experts interviewed throughout the study stressed that it is time for media and information literacy of the population in the Republic of Moldova to become a priority for the state, which should assume the role of initiator, coordinator and, finally, direct funder of this field, not just a partner of civil society projects.
The IJC has launched a competition to select a group of experts who will develop a national media literacy strategy to promote media literacy and combat disinformation and propaganda.
The strategy will be developed in the framework of the project „Creation of a coalition of stakeholders for national MIL strategy”, implemented by the IJC with financial support from International Media Support (IMS).
|November’s edition of the cuMINTE Podcast tackles a topic of major interest in the context of the war in Ukraine, where misinformation takes many forms. The show’s guests explain the phenomenon known as infoshum (in Russian, information noise). This includes news, pictures, and other information products that are broadcast with the aim of distracting from the genuinely important news. Such tricks are used by public figures or, for example, by some politically affiliated media outlets to hide certain decisions, actions, or information from the public eye.|
The show’s guests, media experts Oleg Khomenok and Roman Kifliuk from Ukraine as well as President of the Press Council of Moldova Viorica Zaharia, believe that such news is not necessarily fake, but it can confuse us and distract us from information that should be of primary interest.
Khomenok believes that information noise was born with the advent of propaganda. “If you’re wondering why the Russian-language term infoshum is more popular with us, it’s because such content is actively promoted by the pro-Kremlin press in Moscow, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine,” says the expert. Kifliuk argues that infoshum is somewhere between truth and disinformation. “For example, if the city hall is going to make a scandalous decision, it can launch a kind of infoshum, a distraction, so that people will have something to discuss, to argue about and not have time to analyze the scandalous decision,” he says.
Zaharia referred to an eloquent example. “The first example that comes to my mind is a news item I recently read in Komsomolskaia Pravda, which says that Alla Pugacheva, a Russian performer, is in fact worthless, that she has not been singing or performing for 100 years. Knowing the context, namely that the artist has recently made statements against the Kremlin and left Russia, I can immediately see what purpose such a news item serves. The aim is to discredit the performer as someone who does not deserve attention,” warns Zaharia.
In order to not fall prey to information noise, the show’s guests advise people to pay attention to the details, to the reaction this message provokes and, finally, to who the intended source of the message is.
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.
|In recent years, Moldovan TV stations with large audiences have continued to broadcast news and talk shows produced in the Russian Federation, with some interruptions. Aimed at Russian-speaking audiences, these news and analytical programs were also broadcast on our small screens by channels such as NTV Moldova (which broadcast the NTV channel), RTR (which broadcast Rossia – RTR) and Primul in Moldova (which broadcast Pervyi Kanal).|
The impact of these television products on Moldovan citizens has always been a subject of public discussion in the context of the constant external threats to Moldova’s information security.
In an analysis for the Independent Journalism Center’s Mediacritica portal, journalist Victoria Dodon sought an answer to the question: What reality does a Moldovan viewer imagine when watching these TV channels? The author concludes that by watching these channels our viewers become manipulated by Russian propaganda and find themselves in parallel realities. “Over time, viewers who are keen consumers of such messages end up making decisions that risk being detrimental to themselves as individuals or to the society they are part of, whether it is voting in elections, not abiding by rules in times of a pandemic, or supporting a war,” says the journalist.
The material was produced as part of the project “Combating Propaganda and Manipulation through Media Education Tools,” implemented by theIndependent Journalism Center from November 2021 to November 2022, with the support of the Black Sea Trust, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The views expressed in this material do not necessarily represent those of the Black Sea Trust or its partners.
IJC and Internews Updates
|A group of 15 journalists was trained on how to provide medical first aid in emergency situations. They took part in a training program on November 18 organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) in partnership with the Ministry of Defense. The training took place in the territory of the Military Camp No. 142 in Chisinau and had Ministry of Defence representatives Victor Spinei and Nicolae Coman as trainers.|
The training program was a continuation of the training “”Journalism in wartime”,” conducted by IJC on 4-5 March 2022 and focused on the main aspects of providing medical first aid, both in theory and in practice.
Participants were familiarized with medical equipment, and also with principles of providing medical first aid – how to stop bleeding, how to correctly apply a bandage, and how to perform CPR. At the end, each news outlet received a first aid kit as a gift from the IJC.
The training was organized by the Independent Journalism Center as a partner in the project “„Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M), funded by USAID and the UK and implemented by Internews. The MEDIA-M project aims to promote the development of an independent and professional media in Moldova, giving citizens access to a diversity of perspectives and helping to build a media sector that is more resilient to political and financial pressures.
|On November 29, a group of 30 employees from central public authorities participated in a training program organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) on how to correctly apply access to information legislation. The training is part of a program launched by the IJC in 2019, following a cooperation agreement signed with the Academy of Public Administration (APA).|
The participants discussed the legal aspects that should guide a public official in his/her work when responding to journalists’ requests for information.
IJC legal advisor Cristina Durnea told the APA audience about the legislation they should follow when dealing with media requests, the rules for receiving, registering and redirecting requests for information, and the sanctions that can be applied to public officials in case of unfounded refusals.
Over the last three academic years, thanks to the IJC program, more than 190 public sector employees have received training on the procedure for providing information.
This course was conducted by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) as part of the „Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M) project, funded by USAID and the 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.