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Petru Macovei: The BCC Selectively Sanctioned TV Stations that Violated the Law on Domestic Product

22 November 2017
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The Broadcasting Coordinating Council (BCC) sanctioned seven TV stations at a public meeting last week for failure to comply with the obligation to broadcast at least eight hours of domestic product daily. At the same time, ten other TV stations, which also did not broadcast the necessary volume of content, have not been sanctioned by the BCC. Media expert Petru Macovei qualifies this BCC attitude as selective and discriminatory in relation to the sanctioned stations and considers that the BCC has protected certain TV stations.

According to recent monitoring data, out of the 31 monitored stations, only 14 stations broadcast domestic products for at least eight hours daily.

Thus, the BCC has publicly warned the TV channels Canal 3, STS Mega, N 4, RTR Moldova, NTV Moldova, Exclusiv TV, and Ren Moldova because they did not broadcast the necessary volume of domestic content.

Other stations were not sanctioned, although they also violated the Broadcasting Code. Thus, at the television station Prime the daily volume of domestic products was only 04 hours 59 minutes 25 seconds, including 04 hours 15 minutes 05 seconds in prime time and 03 hours 53 minutes 58 seconds in Romanian. Similarly, at Canal 2 the daily volume of domestic product constituted 06 hours 09 minutes 53 seconds, including 03 hours 50 minutes 59 seconds in prime time and 03 hours 50 minutes 59 seconds in Romanian.

During the monitored period, TV-Prim had 04 hours 58 minutes 08 seconds of domestic products, and PRO TV CHISINAU had 07 hours 27 minutes 05 seconds, including 05 hours 17 minutes 51 seconds in prime time.

According to the Monitoring Report, some TV stations broadcast more than eight hours of domestic products but did not have the number of hours prescribed by law to be broadcast in prime time (at least 6 hours of domestic products) or in the Romanian language (at least 4 hours in the state language in prime time). These legal requirements were violated by TV 8 (total volume of 10 hours 10 minutes 24 seconds, and 03 hours 11 minutes 34 seconds in prime time in Romanian); Euro TV (total volume of domestic product 10 hours 15 minutes 18 seconds, and 05 hours 51 minutes 22 seconds in prime time); Accent TV (08 hours 50 minutes of domestic product, but only 05 hours 18 minutes 08 seconds in prime time, including 03 hours 34 minutes 43 seconds in Romanian).

ITV, SOR TV, and TV-Gagauzia also violated the legal provisions, either in terms of the volume of domestic products broadcast in prime time, or in the volume of domestic products in Romanian.

Media expert Petru Macovei considers that the BCC has selectively sanctioned the stations which did not comply with the required volume of domestic products:

“From my point of view, the BCC definitely had a selective attitude to some broadcasters. Absolutely all who violated the law had to be sanctioned in one way or another, by applying warnings or other sanctions. The fact that only the broadcasters supported, in one way or another, by socialists and a single station, Canal 3, which has no national coverage, were sanctioned, demonstrates intention to protect two important stations owned by Mr. Plahotniuc [Vladimir Plahotniuc, chairman of the Democratic Party] – Prime, whose direct beneficiary is he himself, and Canal 2, which also belongs to him, through his agent, Oleg Cristal. I can’t explain this differentiation by the BCC except by its desire not to upset Mr. Plahotniuc too much.

“At the same time, let’s think seriously. Prime TV is the richest television in Moldova, with the largest market share and the highest advertising revenue. This television is certainly capable of creating domestic product in the volume required by law. We remember that the Democratic Party MPs were the ones who promoted this law very much and, behold, the television that belongs to the chairman of this party does not abide by the law.

I would ask the BCC to have an equal and unbiased attitude towards all broadcasters. Absolutely everyone has to comply with the law. And the BCC has no power to rewrite laws and to forgive someone for not applying them.”