14 january

Independent journalism center negative about ACC’S new decision…

The Audiovisual Coordinating Council’s new idea – that all cable TV operators must necessarily include certain television channels into their viewing grids – will tell negatively on local TV broadcasters and will not promote the development of the Moldovan electronic media market, maintains Independent Journalism Center (CIJ) Director Nadine Gogu.

In her interview with Infotag, Gogu said that the media watchdog has thus created a risk that other television channels will be excluded from the information area of the Republic of Moldova as well.

“This decision will lead to violating the right to information, and will upset the pluralism of opinions. This is dangerous, particularly in an election year, because citizens will be deprived of their constitutional right to receive information from different sources. Though the ACC is claiming that the decision is providing support for local television channels, its arguments are unconvincing”, said the CIJ director.

In her words, in the nearest days the Center will send to the ACC its opinion concerning the Council’s draft recommendation to replace the phrase “Moldovan television channels with nation-wide coverage” with the phrase “television channels under the jurisdiction of the RM”, thus erasing the very word ‘Moldovan’.

The draft of the ACC decision stipulates that media service distributors shall necessarily include the following channels into the lists of TV companies transmitted by them: Moldova-1 public television, TV Gagauzia, TVR channel of Romania, TV5 of France, and the above-mentioned local “television channels under the jurisdiction of the RM” with a nation-wide coverage.

Also, the lists must include: television channels cast in operator’s city or town; at least one TV channel for children in the Romanian language; one sportive and one music channel in the Romanian language.

Since the moment when the draft decision comes into force, only nation-wide channels of PrimeTV, 2 Plus and Publika TV, belonging to Moldovan oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, shall become compulsory for all distributors, whereas other channels shall be excluded from the list or shall have to pay for the privilege to be transmitted by media service distributors.

JurnalTV is concerned about the ACC’s intention to consider this draft in earnest, and is demanding to revise the draft decision to thus prevent the liquidation of this television channel. JurnalTV is demanding also to change the draft in a way to make compulsory not only channels with nation-wide coverage but all broadcasting companies under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Moldova.

Though the ACC has not yet adopted the decision officially, on Monday morning JurnalTV also disappeared from the basic package of the SunTV distributor. SunTV has announced that JurnalTV had been transferred into the digital packages of Optim and Ultra, which are more expensive than the basic package. On Monday, JurnalTV disappeared from the viewing grids of other cable TV operators as well.

The “Apollo” Association of Copyright and Related Rights stood up with a declaration qualifying the ACC’s intention as an unprecedented attack against JurnalTV organized by Vlad Plahotniuc.

“Oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc has organized an unprecedented attack against television and radio broadcasters, especially against JurnalTV, by means of unlawful actions by the Audiovisual Coordinating Council. This is the first step towards liquidation of other annoying channels, mostly the JurnalTV, pursuing independent editorial policies and sharply criticizing the lawlessness of state institutions controlled by Plahotniuc”, said the Apollo’s statement.

From its part, the ACC also stood up with a statement saying that JurnalTV misinforms the public opinion.

“JurnalTV is not mandatory for transmitting by cable TV operators, and there exists no list of channels that must allegedly be transmitted in Moldova. JurnalTV misleads the public opinion by demanding to cancel a decision that has never been taken. JurnalTV distorts the reality, when it qualifies as an ‘unprecedented attack’ merely the initiation of a discussion on this topic”, the ACC wrote in its statement.