Expert Ion Bunduchi on the Lack of a Program for Implementing the National Concept for Mass Media Development: “First, We Start Going, and Then, We Think About Our Destination”

For more than four years after the National Concept for Mass Media Development in the Republic of Moldova was voted in the final reading, though it was supposed to be a reference document for public policies in this sphere, the authorities have not approved any program or action plan for implementing this Concept. Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei, President of the Parliamentary Commission in Charge of the Media Sphere, declared during the Mass Media Forum 2022 that the program and the action plan remained a priority for the current session of the legislative authority.

The National Concept for Mass Media Development in the Republic of Moldova was voted back in June 2018. Within six months since the Law on Approval of the Concept entered into force, the authorities had to develop and approve a program of steps aimed at implementing the document, as well as an action plan. The government changed over time, and a program and an action plan indicating clear directions for mass media development have not been approved. “It all has happened in the Republic of Moldova, and here in Moldova, first, we start going, and then, we think about our destination. I mean, first, we have all sorts of experiences, and afterwards, we realize that it was probably better to think about our common vision, what we intended to do, and where we wanted to arrive. Therefore, our progress is zigzag-like, or even one step forward and two steps back,” Ion Bunduchi, President of the Electronic Press Association, emphasized.

In his opinion, the process is being delayed because implementing the documents depends on a number of such decision-makers as the Government, the Parliament, and the regulatory authorities, “coordinating such actions in common is an enormous challenge, and no government has gone through it.” The expert believes it is necessary to create an entity to deal with policies in the media sphere and assume the task of coordinating the processes.

On the other hand, Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei, President of the Parliamentary Commission in Charge of the Media Sphere, agreed with the suggestion on creating an institution to deal with public policies in the media sphere. According to the deputy, this structure should be within the Ministry of Culture, the way it is organized in the other countries. At the same time, she says that the program of steps and the action plan for implementing the Concept will be discussed at the current parliamentary session. “Yes, we should have mobilized the Parliament to promote this program faster. It is also in the Government’s action plan, as well as in our working plan for this parliamentary session. I hope we’ll manage to have it in due time, at the level of analysis and functional reconfiguration of the ministries, and the related responsibility for the ministry (the Ministry of Culture – author’s note), because it’s more difficult to refer it to different institutions, not to be able to demand, and to have no updated information on what is going on in a particular sphere,” Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei specified.

This topic was discussed during the Mass Media Forum 2022, in a debate with the participation of journalists and representatives of the state institutions and the regulatory authorities. The discussion participants analyzed the most serious issues faced by the press in the Republic of Moldova, as well as the commitments assumed by the executive authority in the government program in relation to the media community in August 2021.

The Mass Media Forum 2022, an event held on November 22-23, is organized by the Press Council and Freedom House in partnership with the Independent Press Association, the Independent Journalism Center, and the Electronic Press Association.

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