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TV8 Channel, Fined 10,000 lei for “Internetu 'Graieste” Show in which Journalist Elena Pahomova Was Targeted

29 May 2020
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The Broadcasting Council (BC) has decided to fine TV8 for “breaching” certain standards on the provisions for issuing broadcasting licenses after “Internetu' Grăiește” show was broadcast on the 8th of May. The decision was taken after NTV Moldova channel and journalist Elena Pahomova complained that the latter had been offended by the TV show hosts Nata Albot and Andrei Bolocan who had urged Internet users to send her private messages.

During the session held on May 29, BC members voted unanimously for sanctioning TV8 with a 10 000 MDL fine, considering that, during the show in question, the principles of correct information had been breached.

In the show broadcast on Facebook, on May 8 and on TV8 and Youtube, on May 9, the authors refer to a message posted by Elena Pahomova on her Facebook page, where the NTV Moldova journalist mentions the freshly dyed hair of the President of the Constitutional Court (CC), Domnica Manole, in the context of the CC decision to cancel the agreement regarding the Russian loan. Pahomova implies that Manole dyed her hair illegally since beauty parlor activity was forbidden during the state of emergency. “Internetu' Grăiește” show hosts categorize the post as inappropriate for the journalist’s status. “We suggest finding Elena Pahomova on Facebook and writing to her in private whatever you think of her schizophrenic deductions”, the hosts urged, among other things.

In her complaint, Elena Pahomova mentions that she and her children were mentioned in a negative context and regards the statements by the hosts Andrei Bolocan and Nata Albot as a “personal attack”.

During the meeting of the BC, Olga Gututui, TV8 Program Director, argued that “Internetu' Grăiește” was a humorous show which criticized “messages instead of persons, that is, messages made by politicians and other public figures, which was exactly the case”. She emphasized that the hosts regarded Pahomova as a public figure, also for the reason that she was part of a media board under the guidance of the country’s president. Gututui claims that Elena Pahomova was allegedly sent an invitation – by e-mail and on social networks – to participate in the show and express her opinion; she also specifies that the pictures of her children were published incidentally. “In the future, the television will no longer make such mistakes”, she concludes.

In her reply, Pahomova mentions that she did not receive such invitations: “In my request, I have asked to grant me the right to reply (право на ответ, in Russian), because I don’t regard myself as a partner in a conversation with the authors of this show. I don’t want to communicate with them now – the emotions are still fervent – and give them the right to talk to me again”. She also specifies that Albot and Bolocan have commented on her post published as private on Facebook.

Dragos Vicol, BC President, disapproves of the show hosts’ behavior, describing their type of humor as “coarse”: “I don’t see any grim humor in what was said here. Besides, I don’t see any vices, failings which were criticized, it was Elena Pahomova personally who was chosen as a target”.

His colleague Tatiana Buraga pleaded that TV8 be sanctioned with a maximum fine, while Lidia Viziru, another member of the Council, suggested a fine of 10 000 MDL because it was the channel’s first breach of that type.

Photo: a screenshot of Internetu’ Graieste show