On September 21, photojournalist Elena Covalenco was banned from entrance to the Transnistrian region. The unconstitutional authorities on the left bank of the Dniester declared Elena Covalenco “undesirable” for three years after she had documented a report in Tiraspol this July.
Nine non-governmental media organizations, including the Independent Journalism Center (IJC), condemned Tiraspol’s abusive and illegal practices towards journalists and called on the constitutional authorities of the Republic of Moldova to ensure its citizens the rights and freedoms guaranteed by law.
The Independent Journalism Center, together with seven other media NGOs, issued a joint statement condemning the unacceptable attitude of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, Vladimir Bolea, towards the journalist who asked the minister questions at a press conference on Thursday, September 14, whose answer resulted in personal insults from the minister.
In the joint statement IJC and media NGOs issued the statement where among others vehemently condemned the manifestation of any form of intolerance towards journalists and media institutions and urged all dignitaries to adopt a decent language and behavior towards the press.
The signatory organizations called on the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Dorin Recean, to ensure that Minister Vladimir Bolea is held disciplinarily liable.
The General Inspectorate for Migration announced that the director of Sputnik Moldova, Vitali Denisov, who is a Russian citizen, was expelled from the Republic of Moldova and banned from entering the country for ten years.
Authorities announced that, this decision came as a result of his involvement in the Moldova’s internal affairs, by endangering the country’s information security.
Sputnik.md website was blocked two days after the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine due to promoting of “information inciting hatred and war under the state of emergency.” After the Intelligence and Security Service (SIS) requested the portal to be blocked on the morning of February 26, 2022, Sputnik Moldova announced on the same day that it had launched three other online outlets.
Mediacritica portal later wrote that it was only a year after that SIS announced that it had requested the blocking of five websites that “publish false information in the field affecting national security,” which were several affiliated portals with Sputnik.
The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the European Implementation Network (EIN) have confirmed their commitment to work together to contribute to implementing the ECtHR rulings on violations of freedom of expression and promote this fundamental right in the Republic of Moldova. In this line, the IJC Executive Director Nadine Gogu and EIN Manager Ioulietta Bisiouli signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
The IJC team announced its collaboration with EIN in a new project to protect freedom of expression in Council of Europe member states. As a participant in the project, the IJC will direct its efforts towards promoting this fundamental right and contributing to the effective implementation of the relevant rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Moldova.
The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and representatives of the international Organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Thursday, September 21, assessed state of the press in the Republic of Moldova at the workshop titled “Quality of the press, a guarantee for media freedom.” Journalists from around 15 newsrooms, as well as media researchers and representatives of the donor community, were part of this workshop.
Experts of two organizations analyzed the results of two surveys that are launched annually: on the State of the Press Index in Moldova, which is prepared and published at the beginning of each year by IJC, and the World Press Freedom Index, presented each year in May during the Press Freedom Days.
Nadine Gogu, the Executive Director of Independent Journalism Centre, emphasized that the IJC’s annual research has consistently revealed fluctuations for the media sector in Moldova over the years.
Even though the IJC’s annual State of the Press Index shows that, despite improvements, some of the problems persist, in 2023. The international organization RSF ranked Moldova 28th out of 180 countries monitored in the World Press Freedom Index, the best result ever for Moldova.
Jeanne Cavelier from Reporters Without Borders unfold to journalists present at the event that RSF uses a different methodology than the IJC, and the results are based on the expertise of a group of media professionals to represent a diversity of institutions and points of view.
RSF representatives shared insights from Sweden’s experience as one of the countries with the best press freedom records in the world.
The Independent Journalism Center event was organized with the support of Sweden.
On September 21, representatives of Reporters Without Borders presented in Chișinău the Journalism Trust Initiative. This international mechanism rewards ethical journalism by allowing media portals to certify their status as a trusted and qualitative source of information.
According to RSF, the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) emerged in response to the global need to distinguish trustworthy sources of information published by media. The regional project manager of Europe for the JTI Bertrand Mossiat, stressed out that the organization had asked the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to create a standard for media organizations responsible for disseminating information of public interest, as per the ISO standards.
One hundred thirty (130) organizations collaborated to establish a standard that would disseminate the quality of journalism. Ziarul de Garda (ZdG) is the first media institution in Moldova to have completed the evaluation process and made the report public on the JTI website. The list of media institutions aligned with the criteria of fairness and transparency is available at the JTI website.
The Parliament announced on Friday, September 15, the competition for the vacant seat of a member of the Supervisory and Development Council (CDS) of Teleradio-Moldova (TRM), in substitution of Cristian Jardan position, who. was appointed as a political advisor in the cabinet of Prime Minister Dorin Recean in early March 2023. The Candidates shall be nominated from the civil society.
Among the eligibility requirements for the position of member of the SSC, candidates must be of impeccable professional reputation, not be disqualified from holding public office or a position of public dignity, and not be politically affiliated or a political party member.
A document containing methodological rules for detecting and assessing cases of disinformation was approved by the Broadcasting Council (BC) at its meeting on September 15.
According to the BC, the authority will use the new document to determine whether the information is false or misleading, whether TV or radio stations have distributed the information with malicious intent, and whether the information distributed jeopardizes the state’s national security.
The institution highlighted that the document was drafted considering the best practices adopted at the EU level and established by the European Convention on Human Rights.
Two new TV channels will broadcast on small screens in Moldova this autumn. Channels One TV and Star TV will replace the current niche channels Legal TV and GN TV after the Broadcasting Councill (BC) approves the broadcasting licenses. Legal TV and GN TV are owned by SFC Media, which obtained the necessary licenses from the BC in August 2023.
The manager of the new media projects One TV and Star TV is Petru Jelihovschi, former manager of Prime TV. At the same time, the head of the news department of both channels is Ana Butnariuc, former editor-in-chief of Prime TV. The journalist confirmed that One TV and Star TV will launch their activities with a new brand identity this autumn, as they have already told BC of their intention to reflect the election campaign for the local elections on November 5.
After two years of trial, the Supreme Court of Justice gave its final verdict on September 20 concerning the complaint filed by businessman Eduard Tviordohleb against RISE Moldova. He accused the journalists of defamation by publishing an investigation. The SCJ rejected his claims and ordered him to pay part of the legal costs incurred by the media organization.
The material was written based on several documents “issued by law enforcement institutions with functions in the fight against trafficking in narcotic substances, without being distorted by the author of the journalistic investigation,” reads the December 2022 ruling of the Chisinau Court of First Instance, which ruled in favor of the journalists.
The decision of the Supreme Court of Justice is final and irrevocable. Eduard Tviordohleb must pay 12,000 lei (600 euros) in legal aid costs.
On September 27, the Chisinau Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the first instance court for the case of Ilan Shor against Rise Moldova, rejecting the politician’s appeal. In 2021, Ilan Shor sued Rise Moldova over an investigation that revealed his involvement in a drug ring in Colombia, accusing them of defamation.
Rise Moldova journalists then posted a text and a “top secret” note on their Facebook page announcing that they would publish the Casta investigation in the “Soviet Union of Cocaine” series. The material appeared a month later and was written based on several documents.
The Independent Journalism Center provided legal assistance to RISE Moldova on the case.
The application to sue the company Reforma Art, owner of Jurnal TV, and journalist Dumitru Garcaliuc by former anti-corruption prosecutor Roman Statniy was rejected as unfounded by the Chisinau Court of Appeal this mid-September.
The claim’s basis was a report aired on “Patrula Jurnal TV” and several news bulletins on October 8, 2021, entitled: “Russian businessman accuses former anti-corruption prosecutors Roman Statniy and Viorel Morari of extortion.”
The decision is subject to appeal to the Chisinau Court of Appeal within 30 days of its promulgation.
The Chisinau Court of Appeal rejected as unfounded the complaint of Cinema 1 against a decision of the Broadcasting Council (BC) to ensure the right of access to audiovisual media services for people with visual or hearing disabilities. The complaint challenged decision that came into force in early 2023, whereby the BC introduced additional requirements relating to the interpretation of TV programs in mime-gesture language and the correlation of the image on the screen with the sound background.
The decision of the Chisinau Court of Appeal of September 18, rejecting Cinema 1’s appeal against the decision of the BC, can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice within two months.
Orizont TV has been sanctioned by the Broadcasting Council (BC) with 11 fines a total of 75,000 lei (3700 euros) for broadcasting commercial communications with masked content in news bulletins. The material concerned relates to the Orhei Guitar Festival, the protests against the closure of the “Merișsor” shops, and the concert of Misha Marvin at OrheiLand.
The decision was taken at a BC meeting on September 8.
According to BC, on July 31, 2023, Orizont TV aired the story “Performer, composer, and musician Misha Marvin performed on Saturday in OrheiLand” in three main news bulletins. BC found that the name of the park was present in the headline, six times in the pictures, and was kept on the masthead throughout the news, and OrheiLand was talked about more than the story itself.
Therefore, the editorial content favorably presented the political actor Ilan Shor and falls under political advertising. Still, it was not marked as advertising and needed to be adequately delimited, contrary to the law’s provisions.
The largest distributors of audiovisual media services in the Republic of Moldova – Moldtelecom, TV Box, Orange Moldova, and Moldcell – were fined by the BC for rebroadcasting the Russian TV channel Soiuz, which promoted propaganda messages in support of the invasion of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
This contravenes Article 17 of the Audiovisual Media Services Code (AMSC), which protects national audiovisual space and ensures information security. The amount of the sanction is 40,000 lei (2000 euro).
The law prohibits media service distributors from retransmitting audiovisual programs that, regardless of origin, justify wars of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity, or incite hatred.
A new amendment of the information law will come into force on January 9, 2024. After years of the media community talking about abuses and shortcomings in applying the law still in force, the new provisions are expected to solve the problems journalists have reported.
The host of Media Azi Show, journalist Anastasia Nani had a discussion on the matter and other related issues with Lilia Rusu, head of the Public Policy Coordination Directorate of the Ministry of Justice.
The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) has updated the credibility rating of 40 news portals in the Republic of Moldova in a new round of evaluation of news websites on the Media Radar platform. According to IJC Executive Director Nadine Gogu, the monitoring results again reveal shortcomings in the work of several media outlets.
The 40 portals monitored by the expert evaluators are: Agora.md, Stiri.md, Timpul.md, A-tv.md, N4.md, Diez.md, Deschide.md, Tribuna.md, Realitatea.md, Protv.md, Paranteze.md, Voceabasarabiei.md, Newsmaker.md, Primul.md, Tv6.md, Tv8.md, Orizont.tv, Oficial.md, Gagauzinfo.md, Grt.md, Infotag.md, Moldova1.md, Telegraph.md, Zugo.md, Breakingnews.md, Sinteza.org, Nokta.md, Ipn.md, Ziua.md and Kp.md, Observatorul.md, Esp.md, Nordnews.md, Tvn.md, Tuk.md, Noi.md, Unimedia.info, Ziarulnational.md, Zdg.md and Jurnal.md.
The results were announced in four stages during the period of 25 to 28 September. The news portal with the highest degree of credibility is Newsmaker.md. Tv8.md, Agora.md, Moldova1.md, and Zdg.md are ranked in top five. At the bottom of the ranking list is Primul.md.
This monitoring 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 is the responsibility of the Independent Journalism Center and does not necessarily reflect the views of the UK, USAID, or the US Government.
The Independent Journalism Center has launched a project to support four TV stations in creating content about and with the participation of refugees in Ukraine. The project “Support for refugees in Ukraine through media,” funded by the Government of Japan, is a UNESCO initiative developed within the framework of the Regional Response Plan to the refugee situation in Ukraine, coordinated by UNHCR. The project’s launch took place on September 4 in Chisinau, with the participation of several officials and representatives of partner institutions.
The initiative aims to increase refugees’ access to accurate and relevant information on topics of interest, such as humanitarian assistance provided by authorities and partners or employment.
Over the next five months, with the IJC support, four newsrooms (TV8, Jurnal TV, Elita TV, and Studio-L) will produce material on refugees in Ukraine, including the involvement of fellow journalists from the neighboring country. In line to this initiative, the Ukrainian journalist Irina Stryapko joined the TV8 team shortly after the outbreak of war.
Journalists from TV8, Jurnal TV, Elita TV, and Studio-L, as well as from the public TV channel Moldova 1, were trained from the local and international experts on the principles of ethical coverage of the problems faced by refugees. In the training topics on various strategies for presenting conflict situations, ethical and sensitive communication in the process of producing materials with and about displaced persons in Ukraine were covered. The training sessions were held during 4-5 September by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) in partnership with UNESCO in the frame of the project “Supporting refugees in Ukraine through the media.”
During the two days, local and international experts guided participants on how to cover refugee issues in an unbiased, balanced, and fact-based way, involving them in various practical exercises.
Twenty-five young men and women with disabilities and from socially vulnerable groups from various country’s localities participated in a media education workshop organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) at the “Ion Pelivan” High School in the village of Razeni in Ialoveni District on September 20, 2023.
The trainers of the workshop, journalists Diana Raileanu and Georgeta Carasiucenco, highlighted to young people several arguments to make them understand why today it is necessary to be an educated, well-informed, and protected media consumer.
During the Media Literacy Workshop, young people participated in several interactive activities and discussed the videos with educational messages content. The aim was to make them understand how important it is to critically analyze the information they come into contact with and be aware and responsible consumers.
The media literacy workshop was organized in the framework of the project “Promoting Social Cohesion in Moldova by Fostering Inclusion and Diminishing Discrimination” carried out by the Independent Journalism Center in the framework of the program “Joint Equal Opportunities Initiative – Phase II”, implemented with the support of the Government of Switzerland.
In partnership with DW Akademie, the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) trained 20 teachers from 11 educational institutions who will pilot the program on integrating media literacy content in the Romanian language subject in 6th grade for the new academic year 2023-2024. The piloting program is carried out with the approval of the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Moldova.
In the course of three days, from 8-10 September 2023, guided by trainer Natalia Griu and Media Education project manager from Lithuania, Arminas Varanauskas, the teachers had both theoretical and practical sessions where they were trained how to infuse media education content into their language lessons. The training covered topics such as the importance of media literacy, the role of journalism, the elements of fair and equitable news, and the analysis of media messages.
This year’s summer has been officially declared the hottest summer recorded on Earth since the 1800s, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies scientists. The latest data released by the European Digital Media Observatory reveals a concerning trend: as the impact of global warming becomes more prominent, so does the spread do misinformation news on climate change. The battle against falsehoods is getting more complicated.
The new edition of cuMINTE Podcast talks about climate change misinformation, myths, and conspiracy theories with the environmental journalist Lilia Curchi and the project coordinator at the NGO “EcoVisio,” Elena Tacu.
The cuMINTE podcast is produced by the Independent Journalism Center with support from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).
The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the Ministry of Education and Research (MEC), in partnership with the DW Akademie, named the winners of the 3rd edition of the “Media Literacy – Priority in My School” competition where 11 participating institutions presented their activities in Chisinau on September 2. The competition was launched to support and encourage teachers from different regions of the country to carry out various media education activities to contribute to the development of student’s critical thinking skills.
Opening the event, Ina Grejdeanu, the Director for Strategic Development at the IJC, underlined that media education is one of the successful projects of the IJC, but also of all those who believed in this idea, chose to bring media education in schools and become messengers of critical thinking in their institution and community.
The coordinators of the 11 schools participating in the competition had 15 minutes to present their portfolio of activities for the academic year 2022-2023. In the end, the winners of the third edition of the “Media Literacy – a Priority in my school” competition were announced:
In category I – institutions where the optional subject “Media Literacy” is taught, the winners are Gymnasium “Fiodor Angheli,” Gaidar village, Ceadir-Lunga district (teaching in Russian), and Theoretical High School “Natalia Gheorghiu,” from Chisinau (teaching in Russian).
In category II – institutions not teaching the subject of Media Education, the contest was won by Semeni Gymnasium, Semeni village, Ungheni district (taught in Romanian), and Gymnasium no. 2, from Drochia (teaching in Romanian).
Two prizes were awarded for each category. Thus, the winning institutions in Category I received an interactive whiteboard, and those in Category II – a media education corner. The winning teams also received a prize of 10 thousand lei, offered by MEC, which was divided equally among the four winning educational institutions.
The competition was organized by the Independent Journalism Center and the Ministry of Education and Research in the framework of the project “Strengthening Media Education Skills in the Republic of Moldova”, supported by Deutsche Welle Akademie and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
IJC and Internews Updates
The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) launched the second edition of the Media Education Forum – Moldova Media Literacy Forum 2023. Through this event, the IJC aims to bring together decision-makers, media literacy teachers, and local and foreign experts in Chisinau to discuss the latest developments in the field, examine the experience of neighboring countries, and analyze the prospects media literacy in Moldova. The forum will take place in the State Pedagogical University “Ion Creanga.”
For seven years, the optional subject of Media Education has been part of the school curriculum, taught in educational institutions in the Republic of Moldova at all levels of education – primary, secondary, and high school. Around 700 teachers, and professors have developed media skills and are prepared deliver lessons to their pupils. In addition, 20,000 pupils are enrolled to the Media Literacy course until now.
The Media Education Forum is part of the project “Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability 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. Similarly, the event is being held with the support of the project “Strengthening media literacy skills in the Republic of Moldova: Piloting the integrated approach in formal education,” implemented in partnership with Deutsche Welle Akademie and with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).