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Law No. 218 Came into Force. How Many Licenses Will Vlad Plahotniuc Have to Give Up?

14 April 2017
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Once Law No. 218 on modifying and supplementing the Broadcasting Code of the Republic of Moldova enters into force on Friday, 14 April 2017, the holders of several broadcasting licenses will have to keep only two of them in one territorial-administrative unit. It should be noted that the only owner of more than two broadcasting licenses in Moldova is politician Vlad Plahotniuc.
 
At the request of “Media Azi”, Broadcasting Coordinating Council (BCC) member Olga Gututui commented on the new provisions: “It is very important for these modifications not to be just declarative. In my opinion, the abrogation of article II of Law No. 11 of 26February 2016 should be followed by a rule establishing the exact term (for example, 30-45 days) during which owners holding more than two broadcasting licenses would have to bring the legal status of their property in broadcasting in line with article 66 part (3). Unfortunately, it did not happen.”
 
The BCC chairman Dinu Ciocan told us that his institution is preparing an official letter to broadcasters, through which they will be informed that within 30 days they must comply with the requirements of the current legislation.
 
According to the ownership transparency declarations posted at the BCC website, the only holder of more than two licenses is politician Vladimir Plahotniuc, with a total of six licenses, namely for television channels Prime, Canal 2, Canal 3 and Publika TV and for radio stations Publika FM and Muz FM.
 
Dinu Ciocan told “Media Azi” that in this case Vlad Plahotniuc should remain with four licenses out of the six.
 
It should be noted that according to article 66 part 3, “an individual or legal entity may hold no more than two broadcasting licenses in one administrative territorial unit or zone, with no possibility to be exclusive, and may be the majority shareholder in no more than two broadcasters.”
 
At the same time, article 2 letter c) of the Broadcasting Code defines a broadcaster as “an individual or a legal entity having editorial responsibility for the creation of programs services intended for public reception and ensuring their distribution directly or through a third party.”