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RTR Moldova, Publicly Warned for the Minimum Content in Romanian

09 April 2019
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During the meeting of 9 April, the Broadcasting Council (BC) publicly warned RTR Moldova for insufficient content in Romanian. The sanction was given after the TV channel was monitored by BC, which was notified by two viewers. During the meeting, the director of RTR Moldova objected to the procedure used by BC to monitor the broadcaster.

The broadcasting regulatory authority was notified in February by Victoria Bejan, who complained that RTR Moldova did not broadcast content in the State Language and that the movie subtitles were of poor quality. Another notification came from viewer Vlad Dobrea who warned the BC that the channels RTR Moldova and NTV Moldova ‘promote the official position of the Russian Federation by broadcasting Russian news’.
Thus, BC monitored how two television broadcasters – RTR Moldova and NTV Moldova — observe the share of Romanian content in their shows and protect the national broadcasting environment.
The monitoring was carried out on the basis of the Audiovisual Media Services Code, which stipulates that the authority may exercise ex-officio control.

According to the monitoring results, during 26 February - 4 March 2019 (7 days) ‘RTR Moldova’ broadcasted only 0.10% of content in Romanian on 26.02.2019, only 0.9% on 27.02.2019, and 0% on the other days. A similar situation was registered on 9 and 12 February 2019: local shows in Romanian – 0%.
Thus, the BC members found that RTR Moldova violated Article 4(7) of the Audiovisual Media Services Code, which requires the service providers to broadcast at least 80% of locally produced audiovisual programs in Romanian. BC members approved the public warning sanction, accompanied by an indication for repeated 7-day monitoring.
 
Director of RTR Moldova, Evgheni Sergheev, who attended the meeting, did not explain in any way the violations found by the TV Monitoring Department, but had objections to the procedure. According to Sergheev, the BC had no right to monitor the channel because both notifications had incomplete addresses. Also, in his opinion, the monitoring should be initiated by decision of BC members and not by the TV Monitoring Department of the BC.
 
As a response, Victoria Cecan, director of TV Monitoring Department of the BC, mentioned that the monitoring was conducted in compliance with the Audiovisual Media Services Code.
 
As regards the second notification, the BC monitorings did not reveal any violations.
 
Note that Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Oleg Vasnetov, met with some BC members in early April. According to BC press release, they discussed about ‘the need to identify a specific arrangement for the Russian channels that broadcast in the Republic of Moldova’. The same press release informs that the Russian Ambassador was reportedly of the opinion that ‘any possible amendment of the Audiovisual Media Services Code should take into account that the Russian minority is much larger than the statistical data show. Therefore, certain special prerogatives must be established in line with the OSCE rules, especially as regards the share of local product and the frequency of shows in Romanian.’