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The US Department of State Report on the National Mass-Media Situation: Political Control, Unfair Competition and Intimidation of Journalists

15 March 2019
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The limited freedom of the mass-media, the pressures on the independent press and concentration of ownership are just a few of the issues stated by the US Department of State Report on the human rights situation in 2018 in the Republic of  Moldova.     

The Press Remains Under Oligarchic Control
The report says that the media in our country faced the same challenges as in previous years: political influence, external and internal manipulation and propaganda, limited independence of the authority regulating the audiovisual field. The oligarchs distorted media messages for their benefit through people and media institutions they control.
The report also mentions that the information about the owners of private broadcasters made public in 2015 has confirmed high concentration of media ownership.

Unfair Competition
The report also details the situation of the advertising market. It says that the request of a group of broadcasters filed with the Competition Council to investigate a possible cartel agreement between two large advertising houses – Casa Media and Exclusiv Media – remains unsolved. The broadcasters said they had not received an answer from the Council on their request.

Ilan Shor’s Hate Speech Quoted in the Report
Regarding the hate speech against journalists, the report mentions the case of Orhei Mayor Ilan Shor, who verbally assaulted journalists in a video posted last summer on Facebook. The United Nations condemned Shor's hate speech, but the prosecutors from the Republic of Moldova filed the case away and did not look into his statements.

Stalking Journalists
The report underscores that the intimidation and harassment of journalists after articles about politicians are published continues in the Republic of Moldova. The stalking of Liuba Sevciuc, RISE Moldova journalist, author of the investigation about the property of the Democratic Party leader Vlad Plahotniuc abroad was given an account of in the report.  The report also says that ZdG reporters were threatened online.  It also reminds that TV8 and JurnalTV camera crews were not allowed to attend the press conferences of the Democratic Party, organised at the headquarters of this party. The response of media NGOs that condemned such an attitude to the press was also set out in the report.
The report says that the press in the Transnistrian region is not free.

Besides tackling the mass-media issues, the report also lists findings regarding torture in prison and psychiatric institutions, inhumane conditions, arbitrary arrests, high-level corruption, use of force against people with disabilities in state institutions and many other aspects.
The Annual Report of the US Department of State provides an analysis of human rights in over 200 countries from around the world and it relies on assessments conducted by independent institutions and organisations.