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The New Government Comes Up with Ideas to Revive the Independent Media and Release the Sector from the Influence of Political Factor

18 June 2019
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On Tuesday, 18 June, the new Prime Minister, Maia Sandu, met with a number of journalists, editors and media managers to learn about the issues faced by the media in Moldova and to set the priorities in this sector.

The participants in the meeting expressed their views on several topics, including the current membership of the Broadcasting Council (BC), the need to re-launch the work of the Parliamentary Group on improving media legislation, the situation on the advertising market and other.
Petru Macovei, Executive Director of the Association of Independent Press (API), mentioned, inter alia, the influence of the political factor. The expert’s take was that most BC members obeyed to political orders in recent years and had a selective approach to certain TV channels.
Petru Macovei also proposed to review the legal framework on the use of the drones and the Law on the Processing of Personal Data in order not to restrict the rights of media representatives. Also, he outlined the problem of journalist safety and the need to punish those who assault them.

Ion Bunduchi, Executive Director of the Electronic Press Association from Moldova (APEL), said that the biggest problem of the media was that it was not seen as a social institute. In his opinion, in order to provide relevant solutions in the media field, it is necessary to create a statistical basis with different indicators on media activity. According to the expert, the level of training of the media professionals is another big issue.

The journalist Natalia Morari from TV8 mentioned the monopolization of the advertising market. She mentioned that although a very long time has passed, the Competition Council did not investigate the notifications of the TV channels affected by this monopoly. Morari added that the competition authority could investigate the case in a week and analyse the contracts between sales houses, but the investigation is delayed.
In this context, the online media representatives said they also faced with the issue of high commissions of advertisers, and that in their case, these commissions were even higher than in the case of other media outlets. Dumitru Ciorici, Director of Agora.md, outlined the need for the Internet to stay free.
RTR Moldova General Manager, Evgheni Sergheev, proposed to amend the law so that to ban third parties like sales houses, to act as intermediaries in entering into contracts between media outlets and advertising providers, and that the former to be concluded directly between media outlets and advertising providers.

Dmitri Kalak, expert who works for the Russian publication ‘Economiceskoe Obozrenie’, also proposed to establish a fund supporting the media, which could work on the basis of principles of subsidising the agricultural sector. He also mentioned the problem of the increase in the price of the newsprint paper, which challenges the written media.
In the same train of thoughts, Dumitru Tira, Director of Realitatea TV, highlighted the need to create a mixed group of members from private and public institutions to develop a media development strategy.

The Prime Minister, Maia Sandu, informed that the Government would develop a short-term action plan for the first 100 days of governance. She said she wanted to meet with the media representatives because this field faces major problems in its activity, which must be solved as a matter of priority. In her opinion, the Broadcasting Council, the public broadcaster Teleradio-Moldova and I.S. Posta Moldovei need urgent action to get rid of the political influence.