Stanislav Vijga, ‘Telesistem TV SRL’ manager, explained during the meeting that the request for the issuing of the broadcast license for Accent TV was submitted after the viewers made a number of calls requesting us to keep the old programs and the current team.
BC Member Corneliu Mihalache asked whether the programs of Accent TV would also be broadcast by ‘Primul in Moldova’. He expressed his concern that the same content would be broadcast by various TV channels. Vijga said that Accent TV would broadcast its old programs, and that ‘Primul in Moldova’ would have its own programs. Mihalache said that he supported the approval of the licence, including because he previously worked with some of his colleagues from Accent TV.
Olga Gututui, BC member who voted against the licencing, asked why this TV channel first renamed to ‘Primul in Moldova’ and then requested another licence. According to Vijga, this happened after the team gained access to more finances, due to the fact that it got the opportunity to rebroadcast the content of Pervii Canal from Russia and that this way they will also have access to the advertising market. In his opinion, the company got ‘a second breath’.
In this context, Gututui drew the attention of the BC members that in this case represented a concentration of the media under the influence of the political factor. She believed it was hopeless to speak about the freedom of expression in the absence of positive changes on the media market.
Dragos Vicol, BC Chair, mentioned that Accent TV had individuality and that he could see in it a creative potential, adding that this TV channel deserved to return on the media market.
Before the meeting of the BC, Dragos Vicol attended the 2019 Media Forum where he was criticised that the current majority of the Council would act in the interest of the Party of Socialists, which this way strengthened its media empire through the BC. The Prime Minister, Maia Sandu, also criticised him. ‘We are currently witnessing a redistribution of the spheres of interest in the media. Another holding company, affiliated with PSRM, is getting strength. Accent TV has recently received the right to rebroadcast in our country the programs of the most popular Russian TV channel. A political pole has weakened and another one tries to strengthen’, Maia Sandu said.
Vicol replied that, both in the case of Accent TV and in the case of other issues, he observed the letter of the law and that he examined such files the same way he did with other files. ‘The political factor wants to interfere with the Council’s work. The critics of Maia Sandu honour me’, Dragos Vicol said.
Note that Accent TV channel’s beneficiary is Vadim Ciubara, owner of Media Invest Service (Медиа Инвест Сервис OOO – 100%), about whom RISE Moldova investigation journalists wrote that he was ‘the shadow adviser’ to the President Igor Dodon.