Criticism at the Public TV Channel after Closing Several Programs. President of the Supervisory and Development Council: “They Were Weak”

Several programs by the Moldova 1 public TV channel no longer appear on the screen, and some former and current employees of the institution criticize the administration for its selective attitude. Journalist Tatiana Cojocaru, author and producer of the “În alți papuci” show at Moldova 1, which was canceled several months ago, suggests that the TV channel’s management takes some steps which are “not quite decent or professionally explainable.” In a post published on her Facebook page, which gathered more than 100 comments, the journalist’s other colleagues also criticize the administration. Contacted by Media Azi, Arcadie Gherasim, president of the TRM Supervisory and Development Council (SDC), affirms that the canceled shows were “weak,” and the public channel was preparing to launch other media products this spring.

“I’m fine, and I’m still employed at Moldova 1, which is a public channel, by the way. I’d like to remind you of this fact for those who regard it as a private one, where they can afford making not so decent or professionally explainable ‘steps’ and ‘actions.’ I realize I’ll be under even a greater pressure than I used to be before publishing this post, but I’ve got nothing to conceal, unlike the others who hold management positions in our public institution,” Tatiana Cojocaru wrote in a post on Facebook.

Contacted by Media Azi, the journalist affirmed that there was “discrimination against its staff members” at TRM. “I worked at my project with only one camera, and when I found out that Mihai Scobioala, the camera operator who had agreed to make the show under such circumstances, was leaving, I asked rhetorically, in a post on Facebook, whether our management from TRM realized that good people were leaving because the salaries were low,” the journalist says, specifying that these events took place in the summer of 2022. According to Tatiana Cojocaru, she was later asked to delete the post, but she refused to. In total, 37 editions of the “În alți papuci” show were aired.

“The project was supported by Corneliu Durnescu; he himself declared it was an original and quite a good show,” Tatiana Cojocaru says. She claims she addressed the TRM management asking to be “remunerated as they had promised,” but they demanded from her to make fewer shows. “Instead of three or four editions, let’s make two. Why? Was that said in order to please Mr. Turcanu (editor’s note: Vlad Turcanu, TRM general director) who did not approve of this project? Why did they maintain this project if this product was not good enough?” the journalist asks.

Arcadie Gherasim, president of the SDC of TRM, confirmed to us that the “În alți papuci” show was canceled along with the “Meseriașii” show, and “the other broadcasts left together with their authors.”

“We keep an eye on the situation; I stay permanently in touch with the general director. We have tough discussions sometimes; we have discussions for and against those who prefer acting as victims. I’d like to say the following: the shows aren’t canceled randomly, as it might seem. If a show is weak, it gets canceled, as was the case with Ms. Solomca (Tatiana Cojocaru – editor’s note). She was probably offered to revise her project. She was offered to be transferred to ‘Mesager’ where there was a lack of staff, but she refused to. Those who claim they are being bullied are not right, and the statements about those who seem to be favored are untrue. The Council initiated intensified staff training. We aren’t worried about some people who are dissatisfied, we’re worried about the fact that we don’t have good people for the new projects,” Arcadie Gherasim emphasizes, specifying that TRM plans to launch several new shows this spring.

Media Azi also tried to contact Corneliu Durnescu, Moldova 1 director and TRM deputy general director. In a telephone conversation, the journalist stated he would not comment on the staff’s Facebook posts; as to discussing the prospective reform, it requires a separate visit to the channel’s headquarters. Corneliu Durnescu, appointed in 2021, declared even at that time that he “knew how a TV channel should be made,” yet conducting TRM was “a challenge” for him.

On the other hand, Liliana Vitu, president of the Broadcasting Council (BC), referred to the Code of Audiovisual Media Services, which no longer provides for the BC’s prerogative to intervene pursuant to the amendments made in 2022.

“The relations between the BC and Moldova 1 are content-related: no violent language should be used, the content should be based on at least two sources, there are advertising provisions, etc. These issues are our subject of observation. However, we do not monitor any sorts of managerial activity. This is what the Supervisory and Development Council exists for. Previously, we already had a conflict related to the Labor Code, and we replied to the employee that we had no legal basis to intervene at that moment, and we no longer had any supervisory functions. In this case, we have no powers or attributions. Moreover, even if we make a phone call, we could be accused of interfering with the editorial policy. From the legal point of view, this situation should be discussed at the SDC, and after that, the SDC should file a report to the Parliament. Eventually, this issue could be discussed by the commission in charge or at the plenary session,” Liliana Vitu declared.

In 2022, Media Azi published an article about the resignation of the director of the Radio Moldova public station. The reason was different management concepts and disagreements regarding some topics broadcast on the radio. Vlad Turcanu, Teleradio Moldova Company general director, refused to comment on the “internal debates” at TRM for Media Azi at that time.

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