The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and representatives from the international organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) analyzed the quality and state of the press in the Republic of Moldova during the workshop “Quality of Media, an Additional Safeguards of Press Freedom” on Thursday, September 21. The discussion included journalists from around 15 newsrooms, as well as media researchers and representatives from the donor community.
Experts from both organizations compared the results of two annual research studies: the Index of the State of the Press in the Republic of Moldova, published by IJC at the beginning of each year, and the World Press Freedom Index, presented annually in May during the World Press Freedom Day.
Nadine Gogu, the Executive Director of the Independent Journalism Center, emphasized that IJC’s annual research has shown improvements and setbacks in the media field in the Republic of Moldova over the years. “Over time, our press has faced various challenges such as limited or nonexistent financial sustainability, political influence on numerous media organizations, the monopolization of the advertising market, violation of the right to access information, and more. The ongoing severity of media issues in the Republic of Moldova is evident in IJC’s annual reports. For example, in 2022, despite some improvement in the state of the press compared to previous years, this progress proved to be inconsistent, according to the Index of the State of the Press,” explained Nadine Gogu.
Even though IJC’s annual Index of the State of the Press shows that, despite some improvements, some problems persist, in 2023, the international organization RSF ranked the Republic of Moldova 28th out of 180 monitored countries in the World Press Freedom Index, marking the best result achieved by the Republic of Moldova so far.
Jeanne Cavelier from Reporters Without Borders explained to the journalists present at the event that RSF uses a different methodology than IJC, and the results are based on the expertise of a group of media professionals to represent a diversity of institutions and viewpoints. “In the case of the Republic of Moldova, the jump can be explained by a mechanical effect because the situation in other countries has worsened. The score given for the political context has increased and contributed to this jump,” Jeanne Cavelier stated. She emphasized that regarding the economic context, it should be noted that RSF’s questionnaire does not address economic difficulties, such as the lack of financial resources or how the advertising market operates.
In this context, RSF representatives also talked about Sweden’s experience, a country that has consistently ranked high in press freedom. Currently, Sweden is in fourth place. Erik Larsson, the director of RSF Sweden, explained that it is very complicated to take legal action against a journalist or a newsroom in Sweden. “It is almost impossible to sue a journalist. On the other hand, Sweden has an ombudsman institution that monitors the media situation. The ombudsman can issue decisions regarding media misconduct, and the targeted newsrooms are required to publish them. That’s why, even though a legal process is nearly impossible, as a journalist, I wouldn’t like to end up publishing the ombudsman’s decisions,” Erik Larsson said.
In the second part of the event, journalists from Chisinau learned about the Journalism Trust Initiative, an international mechanism that rewards ethical journalism.
The event was organized by the Independent Journalism Center with the support of Sweden.