The activity of the Ombudsman for the Audience from Teleradio-Moldova (TRM) is inefficient, and “the solutions are delayed.” This is the conclusion of the public provider’s Supervision and Development Council (SDC) included in the SDC’s activity report for 2022. Moreover, during the previous year, the Ombudsman presented only one monthly activity report, “still refusing to fulfill her obligations.” While the TRM management staff does not provide any further details about her activity, Carmelia Albu says she is perplexed by these statements.
According to the SDC activity report published on Teleradio-Moldova’s official page, among the arrears registered for the previous year, two refer to the TRM Ombudsman’s service. The first case is related to the decision dated March last year, according to which Vlad Turcanu, the institution’s general director, was given the task of identifying the solutions regarding efficiency of the Ombudsman’s activity. “The solutions are delayed,” it is mentioned in the report. According to the second decision dated April 2022, Carmelia Albu was recommended to prepare monthly reports in accordance with the powers assigned to her by the regulation approved in July 2021. Ombudsman Carmelia Albu “filed a single monthly activity report to the SDC at the meeting held on April 19, 2022, still refusing to fulfill her obligations. The SDC President informed the company’s general manager about this fact,” the document also specifies.
Arcadie Gherasim, the SDC President, has told Media Azi that, though he has known Carmelia Albu for 40 years, he is reluctant to assess her professional activity, summing up the issues stipulated in the report. Alexandrina Carpu, TRM’s head of the HR department, has refused to comment on the Ombudsman’s activity, explaining that she has been working for the company for less than a year and, above all, that she does not intend to make a decision until the assessment to which all the TRM employees are currently subjected to is completed. “We received a complaint from the SDC stating that the Ombudsman had not filed the activity report. For this reason, a professional skills assessment is currently taking place, and after that, a decision regarding Carmelia Albu’s further activity will be made.”
Vlad Turcanu has also refused to provide any details. “A committee is assessing her performance, and any opinion I might have as a member of that committee would be subjective. There are two eventual scenarios: a decision may be made according to which Ms. Albu would be granted at least three months to improve her results, according to the Labor Code, or another decision can be made, stating that there is no problem about her activity,” Turcanu has told Media Azi.
In her response, Carmelia Albu claims she has not taken part in any SDC meeting where her professional activity could be discussed: “I’ve no idea of any decision in this regard. It’s just someone’s opinion; I’ve had no warnings about my activity. I’m also perplexed by this decision,” the Ombudsman has answered us briefly, without providing any additional information on her activity at Teleradio-Moldova during the last year.
According to the TRM Ombudsman Service’s report for 2022, the two basic activities practiced by the Ombudsman’s Service last year were organizing a meeting with the news journalists from Moldova 1 channel on April 14, together with the members of the Press Council of the Republic of Moldova, on the topic titled “Ethical Journalism in Times of Crisis,” as well as monitoring news broadcasts by Moldova 1 on the war which had started in Ukraine for ten days, also in April.
The Ombudsman’s Service at Teleradio-Moldova was founded upon the initiative of the media NGOs in 2013. The service has the status of an autonomous entity and is a self-regulatory structure within the institution. Among other things, the Ombudsman is in charge of answering questions from the TV and radio audience, analyzing eventual complaints from program consumers, and controlling journalistic correctness of the programs broadcast by the channel. Moreover, the available reports for 2022 do not include any exact figures regarding the complaints received by Carmelia Albu.
In March 2021, Carmelia Albu informed Media Azi that the TRM Ombudsman’s Service was about to launch two shows, on Moldova 1 and Radio Moldova, to analyze the issued reported by the TV and radio audience regarding the quality of broadcast media products at the public stations. However, only one edition was broadcast.