Fines of 40 000 Lei and Public Warnings for TV6 and Orhei TV. They Favored the Sor Party in the “Vremya Novostey” Newscast

The Broadcasting Council (BC) sanctioned TV6 and Orhei TV channels for breaching several legal provisions on correct attitude and fairness in the Russian-language newscast titled “Vremya Novostey” (“Time for News” in Russian). The control was conducted on the basis of an application filed by the BC member Ruslan Mihalevschi.

The BC monitored the news in the Russian-language broadcast by TV6 and Orhei TV on September 9, 12, 13, 14, 16, 20, and 21. Ana Gonta, the BC Vice President, and her colleague Ruslan Mihalevschi specified in their speeches that, recently, the two channels started behaving “more carefully” as to editing the news, especially when presenting the main political stakeholders’ reactions or opinions. However, both of them considered that the supplier continued to favor the Sor Party, even indirectly.

“We have noticed a tendency: the most frequent topics where the provider openly promotes the Sor Party aren’t included in the newscasts, they merely appear on the website of the TV6 or Orhei TV channels,” Mihalevschi stated. According to him, on the same days of the monitoring term, on the channels’ webpages or their YouTube pages, topics very obviously promoting the Sor Party and personally Ilan Sor appeared. On Youtube, these topics were presented with the “Vremya Novostey” logo, but they were not included in the channels’ newscasts. “I suppose it’s a sign that the supplier continues promoting this political party,” Ruslan Mihalevschi added. He also remarked that “the principle of impartiality stipulated by Article 13 is still not applied, because even in the newscasts, we can see some attempts to promote the Sor Party.”

Omission is another practice reported by the two BC members. Some topics widely discussed publicly and likely to present the Sor Party leaders or supporters in a negative light are avoided by the journalists of the two channels. Mihalevschi provided an example of the extensive coverage of the protests in the center of Chisinau organized on September 21 and 22 by the Sor Party, whereas some events taking place during the protests were not included in the newscasts because they could reveal the organizers’ negative aspects. Besides, at that time, the public largely discussed Ilan Sor’s staying in Israel, whereas, at TV6, “I didn’t find any reports on this topic,” Mihalevschi said.  

Ana Gonta expressed an opinion that, “formally, the two channels try to comply with this article (13 – editor’s note) from the point of view of quantity. If we look at the numbers, in their newscasts, the governance is covered much more quantitatively than the opposition. Yet it doesn’t mean that the same thing could be said about quality, fairness, or impartiality. This is exactly where I notice the lack of conscientiousness,” the BC Vice President said.

In conclusion, the BC members stated that TV6 and Orhei TV had not taken into account the provisions of Article 13 of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services (CAMS), ignoring the standards of correctness, good faith, rigor, and accuracy in covering several topics. At the same time, several news items included in the monitored newscasts contained images/video sequences without indicating their source. Therefore, the BC fined Media Resurse Company, the founder of TV 6 and Orhei TV channels, 20 000 lei each for repeated breaches of the provisions of the Code at each channel, and issued a public warning.

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