On 4 June, the Constitutional Court (CC) rejected the notification of the Moldovan President, Igor Dodon, on the unconstitutional declaration of the ‘anti-propaganda law’ and decided that the respective amendments to the Audiovisual Code are constitutional. The decision enters into force from the date of its approval and will be published in the Official Gazette.
Lawyer Maxim Lebedinschi, who represented Igor Dodon at the CC, in the examination course of this notification, stated that provisions of this law violate several norms of the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provisions, such as freedom of expression, access to information and the right to information. According to Lebedinschi, the law was used as a 'tool for an arbitrary and contrary to the Constitution censorship’.
Representatives of the Government and the Legislature, present at the notification examination, argued that the respective law is constitutional.
The Parliament’s representative explained that the provisions on transmission limitation of broadcasts from other states were necessary to secure the information space. In particular, he mentioned that countries signing the European Convention on Transfrontier Television are obliged to give the right to reply in their programs, to be transparent and present facts as to favour the free formation of opinions. In this respect, programs produced in countries not signing the Convention, have been subject to certain limitations. Moreover, through these measures, the legislator meant protecting the population against manipulative programs.
The Executive's representative also said that the Government sees no other solution than blocking such programs and that President Dodon's notification must be rejected.
The head of state’s notification regarding exercise of the constitutional control and declaring the ‘anti-propaganda law’ unconstitutional was filed at the CC on 5 January 2018.
According to the ‘anti-propaganda law’, as of 12 February, Moldovan broadcasters and distributors no longer have the right to retransmit informative, informative-analytical, political and military programs from countries that have not ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television. The Russian Federation has not ratified this Convention.