10 april

Moldova is an EaP leader by Freedom of the Media

Moldova ranks second in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) after Georgia by the Freedom of the Media, shows the Media Landscape 2013, a publication published concertedly by six media NGOs from the EaP countries. According to the publication, the media in Moldova is partially free, with certain progress made in the legislative sector, but no consistent progress in ensuring conditions for journalistic activity.

In a news conference at IPN, Nadine Gogu, executive director of the Independent Journalism Center – Moldovan NGO that took part in the compilation of the publication – said that Moldova scored 1,271 points in the Press Freedom Index for October – December last year. Georgia ranks first, with Moldova being followed by Armenia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Azerbaijan. No extraordinary things that could have radically changed the situation took place in Moldova last year. The situation is expected to be different in 2014, which is an electoral year.

Speaking about the media legislation, media expert Petru Macovei said that Moldova does not have legal norms that would limit the freedom of expression and the freedom of the media. In March 2013, the Penal Code was amended and censorship and hampering of mass media work became criminally punishable acts. Some things yet aroused concern, including the calls by political representatives and public servants to reintroduce criminal punishment for mass media calumny. There were cases when persons attacked journalists verbally and physically, while a politician threatened a journalist from a TV channel with exclusion from the profession.

Media expert Ion Bunduchi spoke about the program “Microphone 3” on Accent TV channel, saying the fact that it is moderated by an MP is against the Deontological Code. As to the national public broadcaster Teleradio-Moldova (TRM), the expert said that it confirmed its tendency to strengthen the public character of the broadcasts, which are intended for the public first, not the politicians. The company modified the salary system, putting emphasis on quality, not quantity. However, the Supervisory Board of the TRM has been nonfunctional since last December because the vacated posts of member weren’t filled. Parliament unjustifiably delays appointing new members.

Ion Bunduchi also said that the Internet is one of the major sources used by the people to inform themselves. The number of bloggers has increased and this is good, but there is a risk that they may be bought.

Cristina Leva, director of the Media and Research Department of the Independent Journalism Center, said the Media Landscape last year didn’t differ much compared with other years. The authorities didn’t visibly interfere in the work of the mass media, but also didn’t hurry to adopt bills that would improve the working conditions of journalists.

Mindaugas Kačerauskis, Political Officer of the Delegation of the European Union to Moldova, said there are three criteria to which Moldova should draw attention. It must ensure transparency of media ownership, eliminate the political factor from decision-making at the Broadcasting Coordination Council and ensure greater independence in the work of the public broadcaster.

The Media Landscape is produced within the ENP East Media Freedom Watch Project with the EU’s assistance. It is based on the Press Freedom Index compiled quarterly according to the assessments of 10 independent media experts.