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Home arrow Research/Publications arrow Study arrow Moldova Media News arrow 2004 arrow Volume 4, nr. 12, December 23, 2004
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Volume 4, nr. 12, December 23, 2004


Even though certain positive transformations fostering the values of a public broadcaster were noted in November, overall TeleRadio Moldova company continued to offer priority coverage to the actors and agents of power. In this way it compromised the principle of opinion pluralism. The conclusion was reached by the team, which has been monitoring the coverage on Radio Moldova and TV Moldova 1, the two branches of the company. Since June, experts from the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the Center for Sociological,Politological and Psychological Analyses (CIVIS) have monitored the degree, to which TeleRadio Moldova observes the provisions of the 2002 Law on the National Public Broadcaster. Among the major problems highlighted by the monitoring were discrepancy between the real concerns of the people and issues featured in the broadcasts, bias towards the authorities, lack of diversity of information sources and sometimes even violation of basic human rights. The monitoring team noted numerous instances of coverage that contained open pre-election propaganda. The major conclusion of the monitoring is that the current legislative framework is not a sufficient guarantee of the company's editorial independence and its effective functioning as a public broadcasting institution. Monthly monitoring reports are available in Romanian, Russian, and English on the IJC Web site at . Financial support for the project has been provided by the OSCE mission to Moldova, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), as well as the Dutch, British, and US embassies (IJC).
The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Project (HPDPP) offered prizes to 14 Moldovan journalists, who had participated in a contest for the best coverage of health issues. The contest, which was launched in April, aimed at boosting the coverage of aspects of disease prevention and healthy lifestyle in the country's media, as well as improving rapport between journalists and health professionals. Thirty journalists submitted articles, radio and TV broadcasts, which had been published or aired in April-December 2004. Currently the HPDPP implements five action programs in two Moldovan districts. Financial support for these activities has been offered by the European Union. For more information, please visit the project Web site at (IJC).
A transparent tender for a nation-wide frequency should be organized in Moldova because there are no competing domestic nation-wide channels in the country, and, consequently, little pluralism. This is one of the recommendations made by Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media. In a regular report to the OSCE permanent council, which was released on December 16, Haraszti noted that Teleradio Moldova coverage continues to tilt towards the government even though the company has been legally transformed from the state broadcaster into an autonomous public service institution. He called for the compsition of the current TeleRadio supervisory board to be changed in order to ensure the representation of "the whole spectrum of views prevalent in society." The recommendations were based on the results of an assessment visit, which Haraszti made to Moldova in October. At that time he met with TeleRadio administrators, the chairman of its supervisory board, government officials, and representatives of media development organizations from the country. Haraszti criticized lack of transparency in the decision process regarding the allocation of frequencies in Moldova, and stressed that the current composition of the Broadcasting Council does not guarantee its objectivity. The Media Representative also called on the authorities not to increase the number of government-sponsored newspapers, and refrain from passing the law that would require all print media to re-register. While praising the fact that Moldova has decriminalized libel, Haraszti noted that civil defamation penalties remain high and are often misused by public officials. He called for a "reasonable ceiling" for such penalties to be introduced and urged the courts to expose public figures to a higher degree of criticism. Haraszti also called on international organizations to find ways to help independent journalists in Transnistria where "media are under severe pressure" (IJC).
Interim results and further stages of the project "Audit Bureau of Circulations: Monitoring Evolution" were discussed at an assessment meeting, which was organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC). The meeting brought together representatives of news outlets, advertisers and advertising agencies interested in the creation of a circulations bureau in Moldova. All had participated in a regional conference on the issue in July, and study visits to Hungarian and Romanian audit bureaux in the fall. Meeting participants shared impressions about the visits, discussed key features of focus groups to be organized in January, and reviewed the blueprint of the final report to be published in Romanian, Russian and English. The 18-month project, which started in January 2004, aims to raise the awareness among Moldovan media managers about the need to provide complete and truthful information about circulation figures, and explore the possibility of starting a circulations bureau in the country. The project is administered by the IJC with the financial support from the Open Society Institute(IJC).
More than 200 representatives of news outlets, media development organizations and other institutions gathered in the Eminescu theater in downtown Chisinau to honor the top journalists of the year and of the past decade. Ten best journalists of the year 2004 were selected by a special commission made up of leaders of the major Moldovan media NGOs and journalism departments of two Moldovan universities. A survey of 100 public personalities and 110 journalists throughout the country established 10 most popular journalists of the past 10 years. Selection criteria included professionalism, respect of journalism ethics, impact on public opinion, constant presence in the media during this time. The festivities were organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) with the financial support from Soros Foundation-Moldova. All winners received symbolic trophies in the form of glass or bronze apples transfixed with arrows. For more information about the winners, please visit the IJC Web site at (IJC).
Nineteen Moldovan journalists from a variety of national and local news outlets became winners of a competition for the best coverage of gender issues. The competition, which has been organized by the Moldovan office of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), aimed at boosting the quality of reporting on the issue, and drawing public attention to all aspects of gender equality. The special highlight of the competition was the coverage of a draft law on gender equality. More than 70 articles, TV and radio broadcasts had been submitted for the contest. The program was administered by UNIFEM-Moldova together with the Independent Journalism Center (IJC).
Forty two Web sites became winners of this year's "Web top competition." The contest has been organized by "Moldova Development Gateway" in partnership with Soros Foundation - Moldova, Globnet, the DNT Association, and the Moldovan office of UNDP. Entries in the following categories were accepted: public administration and law, education and science, civil society, arts and culture, mass media, public health, economic development, Web rural, Web pupil, Web office, Web design. No first prizes were awarded in the "Mass Media" category. The second prize was won by the Internet news portal "Moldova Azi" ( ) and the online news agency Reporter.MD ( ). The third prize in this category was won by the Web site of Jurnal de Chisinau newspaper ( ), and Interlic news agency ( ). The Webtop competition has been organized in Moldova since 2001. There were more than 200 entries in this year's round. Financial support for the project has been provided by Soros Foundation-Moldova (IJC).
Journalists covering environmental issues have accused the authorities of failing to provide adequate access to relevant information. Speaking at a roundtable in Chisinau, they noted that many key environmental issues are not covered adequately for lack of information. Examples include gypsum excavation in the "Emil Racovita" cave in northern Moldova, increased levels of radioactivity in the town of Rybnitsa in its north-eastern region, and processing of banned pesticides throughout the country. Tudor Iascenco, editor-in-chief of Cuvintul weekly from Rezina, said the authorities usually try to cover up rather than resolve these problems. He added that these issues can be addressed most effectively if a public "uprising" is organized. Constantin Mihailescu, the country's environment minister, denied all accusations saying society is constantly informed about relevant environmental problems and decisions of the authorities in this respect. Mihailescu invited journalists to visit the ministry's Web site more often and post their questions there (BASA Press).
In August-October, the news coverage in five Moldovan mainstream newspapers was dominated by the mounting crisis in relations between central authorities from Chisinau and Transnistrian leaders. This is the major conclusion of a monitoring, which has been carried out by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) in the framework of the project "Networking for Diversity." Thus, Nezavisimaia Moldova and Moldova Suverana from Chisinau, Pridnestrovie and Adevarul Nistrean from Tiraspol, as well as Vesti Gagauzii from Comrat were analyzed in order to establish to what extent various facets of inter-ethnic and inter-regional relations are covered. Throughout the monitoring period papers under analysis continued to cover aspects of inter-regional relations more frequently than those between different ethnic groups. In terms of issues, sources and actors coverage lacked diversity - relations were viewed largely through the perspective of the political elites. Papers unswervingly lined up behind their region's authorities, and the tensions between Chisinau and Tiraspol authorities were reported from the "us the good guys" - "them the bad guys" perspective. Ethnic actors continued to be represented predominantly as a group, not as individualized social actors. When singled out individually - the overwhelming majority were male. Failure to rely on multiple sources, offer adequate "voice" to the actors, and provide a comprehensive coverage of issues affecting the life of Moldovan residents considerably reduced the papers' potential to contribute to a better understanding between people. Media monitoring will continue through June 2005. Quarterly reports are available in Romanian, Russian, and English. Financial support for the project has been provided by the British Government's Russia-FSU Conflict Prevention Pool. For more information about the project, or to obtain a monitoring report, contact Natalia Angheli-Zaicenco at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it (IJC).
The Civic Coalition for Free and Correct Elections "Coalitia 2005" called on Moldovan authorities to speed up the transformation of TeleRadio Moldova Company into a veritable public service broadcaster. In a press release, the coalition members stated that despite criticism voiced by representatives of the civil society, European and international organizations TeleRadio still fails to respect the benchmarks set for the activity of public broadcasters in Moldova. The company continues to favor the authorities in its coverage, and in this way the process of its transformation into a public service broadcaster is undermined. According to coalition members, it is necessary to take urgent measures in order to avoid the serious drawbacks of the previous election campaigns. Then the national broadcaster openly promoted the views of the ruling parties, and used its programs to run down political opponents. The coalition members stressed that without a balanced and correct coverage of events, free and democratic general elections cannot take place. "Coalitia 2005" currently unites 145 non-governmental organizations and aims to contribute to the organization of correct, transparent and democratic parliamentary elections in Moldova (Info-Prim).
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