The Broadcasting Council (BC) has fined the television station RTR Moldova 10,000 MDL for violations in the News of the Week newscast regarding the events in Ukraine, and the same amount for failing to present the recordings requested by the BC. NTV Moldova, which had several errors in a newscast, including in the report on the alleged “American” laboratories in Ukraine, was sanctioned with 25,000 MDL and a public warning.
The sanctions were applied at the meeting of March 17. The first topic of the meeting was the examination of the results of monitoring six newscasts that appeared on RTR Moldova in February and a News of the Week program rebroadcast from Russia. “The monitoring showed that both in domestic information programs and in the rebroadcast program News of the Week the majority of materials referring to events in Ukraine were covered unilaterally, with unproven accusations, mixture of facts and opinions, and information was presented in a biased manner. At the same time, the second source or alternative source was either omitted or presented formally,” the BC report says.
Specialists from the BC also found that in the retransmitted News of the Week the author often used the phrase “Ukrainian Nazis”, and from his statements it was not clear who he meant – a political group or an ethnic group. “This expression can be treated as an attempt to incite hatred,” the monitoring report says.
Thus, the BC sanctioned RTR Moldova with 10,000 MDL for violating the requirement to ensure impartiality and balance and to favor the free formation of opinions by presenting the main opposing points of view at a time when issues are in public debate. The station was fined the same amount for failing to present video recordings.
The second report concerned NTV Moldova. The BC examined four topics from the newscast broadcast in the evening of March 9. In one of them, titled “Ukraine, biological test range”, the station wrote about the alleged “American biological laboratories in Ukraine”, misquoting the U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. “In this statement Nuland did not say that the biological laboratories in Ukraine are American, as claimed in an NTV Moldova news report, but only noted that Ukraine has biological research facilities,” the monitoring found. The BC members also found the term “test range” in the title of the news report inappropriate, claiming that it suggests a specially arranged field for training, exercise, and could mislead the audience. The BC added that the news report presented the positions of China and Russia on the topic, but lacked the position of Ukraine.
NTV Moldova representatives expressed their disagreement with some of the findings in the BC report, and regarding the topic of biological laboratories they said they did not offer Ukraine’s position because it did not exist at the time. However, the BC members said they watched NTV Moldova newscasts on the following days and did not see the station presenting the position of Ukraine.
Thus, the BC members publicly warned NTV Moldova and imposed three fines for incorrect information in this newscast – a fine of 5,000 MDL and two fines of 10,000 MDL each.