Public warnings for Cinema1, PEH TV, TVC 21, and Orizont TV for Breaches of Ensuring Correct Information for the Audience

Cinema1, PEH TV, and TVC 21 were publicly warned by the Broadcasting Council (BC) for breaching the rules on rigor and accuracy in editing and presenting news, and Orizont TV for breaching three other provisions of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services (CAMS) on providing correct information, including lack of impartiality and failure to present essential opposing views. The decisions were taken during the BC meeting held on April 7.

The BC ordered to monitor Canal 5, Cinema 1, Exclusiv TT, ITV, Orizont TV, PEH TV, and TVC channels on February 17, and seven days later demanded from them to present the recordings of the main newscasts of February 10, 13, and 16, 2023. The monitoring concerned the way of reflecting Natalia Gavrilita’s resignation on February 10, the statements by the President of the Republic of Moldova on the security in the country and the designation on February 13, and voting and empowerment of the Government headed by Dorin Recean on February 16. According to the BC, Canal 5, Exclusiv TV, and ITV covered these topics without registered deviations from the legal provisions.

According to the data from the monitoring report, Cinema 1 broadcast the topic about the resignation of the Government headed by Natalia Gavrilita in the main newscast of the day. The remark that “the resignation takes place in the context of speculations about the emergence of the leagues with divergent interests within the PAS as the massive governing party founded by President Maia Sandu” was considered to be based on speculations without any specified source. “No fact should be published without being confirmed by at least two independent sources, this is a fundamental rule of information journalism,” Aneta Gonta, the BC Vice-President, commented upon this fact. Cinema 1 representatives replied that the information in question could not be qualified as unfounded for the reason that Natalia Gavrilita and Andrei Spinu had confirmed these speculations in their previous public speeches.

As to the case of PEH TV, Dorin Recean, who was just a candidate for the position of prime minister at that moment, was presented as the person who actually held that post. TVC 21 channel did not mention the source of some images and texts included in the newscast of February 10.

On the same day, Orizont TV was broadcasting a video sequence with the participation of Natalia Gavrilita during a meeting held abroad without indicating the source of the images. The channel’s representatives claimed in their defense that the images were taken from the Government’s website. At the same time, the BC members considered that Orizont TV had failed to comply with the rules on journalistic rigor and accuracy while presenting Marina Tauber as a candidate from the Sor Party for the position of the head of the Government at the moment when she confirmed that Ilan Sor was, “definitely,” the party’s candidate for the post of prime minister of the country. Moreover, Orizont TV did not provide the basic opposing points of view on the accusations of the opposition, such as that the government was presumably merely imitating the consultation process to appoint a candidate for the head of the executive authority.

Besides, the majority of the BC members considered that the topic of the resignation of the Gavrilita Government had been presented unilaterally. “Although the channel provided several opinions, they supported the same idea, whereas it was necessary to offer another point of view in order to have an unbiased approach to the events,” the BC monitoring report states. In addition, a result of the public opinion poll dated December 2022 was broadcast by the channel to demonstrate that that more than half of the citizens considered that the Gavrilita Government was the weakest one over history, which is the information unconfirmed by facts, according to the majority of the BC members.

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