‘Ethics has always played a “less important role in human history”. It is probably one of the reasons why mankind looks like it looks.’ (Dorin Tudoran)
I was proposed to make a critical analysis of the print media in the Republic of Moldova and to make some recommendations for consumers of print media. Newspapers with their drastically thinned circulations have become a prerogative of some apparent elites, professionals, beneficiaries of advertising, as well as of a small number of subscribers. The print media is also under the press of an ongoing informational occupation, which is absolutely true for the online media, TV and radio. There is a criterion that antagonizes them – the party affiliation.
Analysts or political instructors of print media
In fact, people seem to know the real chiefs of the major media without the compromised law on transparency of media ownership. But it's one thing to know officially and another is the state of uncertainty, which induces an atmosphere of total permissiveness for the alleged or certain owners, for journalists, and for the public.
An example would be the scandal around ‘Caravita’ and the way it was commented, with parti-pris, by an editorialist of ‘Ziarul National’ (see the article ‘Un politolog apropiat de PD a recunoscut ingerinţa politică în cazul companiei „Caravita”’ [‘A political analyst close to the DP acknowledged the political interference in the case of “Caravita” company’]). Igor Cijov (administrator of ‘Caravita’) is in custody on suspicion in the case of bad loans provided by BEM. And it is no wonder that the ‘ZN’ commentator jumped as burned to the throat of the party’s enemy, because the print media wrote about the official takeover of the license of the radio station ‘Vocea Basarabiei’ by the same Cijov, shareholder of the company ‘Canal X’ LLC. This Cijov is somehow related to the foundation of ‘Ziarul National’. There is no need at all for a commentator to attack, in pages of a newspaper, another commentator, even if the letter is part of the rival party’s staff.
However, how could an unnoticed reader find out how credible is the media he/she uses to get informed? But by using (and putting into two columns) as many sources as possible, which will learn him/her in time to sort through the information flow, to differentiate a news made in good faith from a media lizard.
A critical reading of the print media needs also a reader to know the background of the author. The eternal problem of journalist’s probity. None of the older journalists, who would have something to reproach in terms of integrity, collaboration with the regime, have not made mea culpa in the public. At least, I don’t know any case, although I'm almost 40 years in the print media.
A retro-insertion in the beginnings of perestroika
I remember the panic and confusion of my chief editor in 1985-1986 when we had to be ‘given the line’ drawn by the party at the beginnings of perestroika and glasnost. After three years of work at Radio Moldova, as a young specialist who had graduated the Faculty of Journalism, I escaped from the unbreathable atmosphere from there and I got a job at the newspaper ‘Tinerimea Moldovei’, department of letters, but soon I flew away from the newspaper.
Prudent, not to say coward, the young communist who headed the body of print media of the Central Committee of Komsomol of the MSSR, tried to promote new lowered commandments, by means of circular letters, from Kremlin. I'll come back on another occasion to that period and those characters.
In the same year 1985, at the Radio ‘Europa Libera’, the director of this station, Vlad Georgescu, wrote in an editorial: ‘It is pleasing to note that despite the policy of Russification, denationalization, despite the attempts of authorities to isolate Soviet Moldova from Romanian Moldova and Romania, Moldovans between Prut and Nistru continue to express courageously the national feelings, to consider themselves who they actually are, that is Romanians, and often to ask, with the risks that such an attitude often implies, the right to fully express their nationality.’
At that times, in 1985-1986, the engineer Gheorghe David sent several times his letter in which he unmasked the Soviet occupation of Basarabian Romanians to the newspapers ‘Pravda’, ‘Tinerimea Moldova’, ‘Romania libera’, to the newspapers in Tallinn, Rome and Paris. I also read that letter coming from ‘Tinerimea’.
There remained two years until creation of the Democratic Movement supporting the restructuring (3 June 1988).
Do not believe blindly the biographies on Wikipedia
I wonder how it is possible that an institution such as ‘Europa Libera’, which, for decades, has been keeping awake the Romanian conscience of the Basarabians (let’s remind first of all the headings signed by Nicolae Lupan and Grigore Singurel, alias Yefim Krimerman), to host now an obscure blogger with Russified mentality, to minimize our great problems of identity that still not have found a final solution? We quote:
‘Moldova needs a new pro-European political project and this becomes more obvious. It must necessarily be built from the bottom and not from the top, otherwise the history will repeat. Integral people with a vision should now prove the ability to organize, to forget, even for a period, the historical truths, geopolitical angers and to begin to outline a clear programme of development.’, Natalia Morari, ‘About solutions’, ‘Europa Libera’, 17 Feb. 2015;
‘Let's take our country back - isn’t it a national idea that would unite all - Moldovans, Russians, Romanians, Gagauzs, Bulgarians and Ukrainians? Does it matter the language spoken or the geopolitical option when it comes to two simple rules: do not lie and do not steal?’ Natalia Morari, ‘I have a dream’, ‘Europa Libera’, 04 May 2015.
Another condition emerges from here for a critical reading of the print media: know the real course (not the brushed, truncated and falsified CV) of the journalist in front of you. I know it's too difficult to do, because the information that you will eventually find on Wikipedia will be brief, incomplete and ultimately false. I urge even journalism students to study the archives of newspapers from the pre- and post-1989 era. Cry in the wilderness - not even their teachers do, I'm not deluded to think that the learners, who have no idea of studying archives, even reading collections of periodicals in the library, will do it.
It is 11 years ago toda`y exactly – and this is really a pure chance – since the beginning of the revolt of journalists from Teleradio Moldova (27 July 2004). Nobody remembers now the meaning and extent of that movement of the Radio and TV people, a movement that had gained popular adhesion. Who, what and how caused it and then hijacked it? It was made clear in a few months, on 4 April 2005. I make almost instinctively a parallel between that journalistic protest, seized with cynicism and venality by political elite, and the ‘DA’ movement.
And think of who, what and how does it today.
Read the print media with a critical eye, because, as Elias Canetti, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize for Literature, said ‘newspapers write everything just read them with enough hate’.
This material is published within the project "Freedom of expression and media development in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and South Caucasus", implemented by CIJ during the period May-September 2015, supported by Deutsche Welle Akademie and financed by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The opinions expressed in this material belong to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the financer’s opinion.
27 July 2015