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Vocea Basarabiei Radio Station no Longer Broadcasts Programs of Radio Free Europe. Administration of Vocea Basarabiei Refuses to Explain the Causes

25 October 2018
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Programs of Free Europe are no longer broadcast on Vocea Basarabiei (VB) for some time now. After 17 years of collaboration, new VB administration decided not to extend the contract for retransmission of Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL) programs. RFE/RL management informed us about this, while VB administrator refused to talk with us to confirm and explain the reason this decision was made. Representatives of the Broadcasting Coordination Council (BCC), in turn, argue that they were not informed about a possible change of the VB broadcast grid.

Head of Moldova Department of Radio Free Europe Oana Serafim told Media-azi.md that administration of Vocea Basarabiei announced to her that it no longer wishes to extend broadcasting agreement concluded with RFE/RL and it did not provide her with any official explanation in this regard. ‘I had a clear and firm answer that they want to give us up’, Oana Serafim stated.
According to the contract, it could be broken by any party, without invocation of certain grounds. ‘We do not have an official written declaration, but contract allows both parts to end the collaboration. We also may close the contract without giving them any explanations’, Oana Serafim said.

Logistical matter of the contract between Free Europe and Vocea Basarabiei was ensured by the United States Agency of Global Media (USAGM). Victoria Tataru, Agency representative on the part of Free Europe in the Republic of Moldova, told Media-azi.md that Oxana Talmaci, administrator of Vocea Basarabiei station notified her of termination of the contract by phone.
I called Oxana Talmaci several times to find out why administration of radio station decided not to broadcast programs of Free Europe. Although initially she answered our calls, she did not want to tell us if she has terminated the contract, stating that she would call us back. Later, however, she answered neither our calls nor messages.

BCC representatives, in turn, declared for Media-azi.md that they were not informed about the change of Vocea Basarabiei broadcasting grid, in disregard of the broadcasters’ obligations. ‘According to the procedure they should have notified BCC and should have changed General Concept of Program Services and re-approved it. We did not receive such information. We have neither their letter regarding giving up programs of Free Europe nor the request to modify the General Concept of Program Services’ said Lidia Viziru, Deputy Head of the BCC General Directorate for Licensing, Authorization, and Monitoring.

Vocea Media company, founded by Dorel Balan, owns the broadcasting license for Vocea Basarabiei radio station. Previously, Anticoruptie.md portal wrote that in 2017 Vocea Media SRL took license of Vocea Basarabiei TV channel and radio station with the similar name through the assignment from Canal X, founded by Caravita administrator – a company mentioned in corruption cases regarding bank frauds. Company which took the licenses was created only two weeks before the submission of assignment request to the Council. 
In April 2018 Media-azi.md wrote that Canal 2 TV channel, which formerly belonged to the PD President Vladimir Plahotniuc, and currently is the property of his political counselor Oleg Cristal, had opened a local studio in the Nisporeni town, and that its editorial board shared its office with two other TV channels and radio stations – Radio Noroc, Radio Vocea Basarabiei, Noroc TV and Vocea Basarabiei TV.