The court rejected Jurnal TV’s appeal against the sanction imposed by the BC in its former composition upon the request of three ex-policemen

The magistrates of the Chisinau Court recently rejected Jurnal TV’s appeal against the decision of the Broadcasting Council (BC) to sanction the TV station for failing to provide correct information when it broadcast news targeting former policemen Alexei Vizdan, Ion Țărnă and Igor Axenti. The former members of the BC publicly warned the media service provider about four informative programs broadcast between June and July 2021. 

The decision challenged by Reforma Art, the founding company of Jurnal TV, was issued at the BC meeting of August 23, 2021, when they examined several complaints from former policemen Alexei Vizdan, Ion Țărnă and Igor Axenti. The petitioners accused the TV station of infringing their rights when it broadcast the investigation “Assets and interests at Dubasari Police Inspectorate”, the reports “Policemen from Dubasari targeted by the National Integrity Agency”, “Leaks from the Vizdan&Țărnă case file”, “They wanted to take control over the Dubasari Police Inspectorate”, as well as the news story “They forced the entrance to Jurnal TV”.   

The monitoring carried out by the BC found deviations from the provisions of the law, according to which, “in audiovisual news programs, for which accuracy and correctness are essential, reports must come from reliable sources, sufficiently documented in terms of facts, with a credible and impartial approach to events, with balanced reflection of different opinions”.  

At the meeting of August 23, 2021, the then BC member Dragos Vicol stated that he attests a “phenomenology at some TV stations, when passions are inflamed, especially when they don’t want to nip a media dispute in the bud,” which leads him to believe that there are certain hidden interests and no prevalence of unbiased and correct information of the viewer or attempts to reach a position that would offer equal rights to both sides.  

His colleague, Larisa Manole, was puzzled by the request for the right of reply, given that the petitioners’ position was already mentioned in the first reports. In the meantime, Iulian Roșca said this case jeopardizes the identity of the persons under criminal investigation, given the principles of the rule of law. Iulian Roșca also noted that the question arises whether it is admissible to have the evidence of a criminal case “go around” in the public space, when it is part of special investigation measures, mentioning, at the same time, that the criminal investigation bodies should not admit leakage of information from criminal cases.   

The decision to sanction Jurnal TV with public warning was made with the vote of five members of the BC out of the six present. 

Jurnal TV’s appeal against the sanction imposed by the BC was rejected by judge Victor Sîrbu of the Chisinau Court, Rascani office, on October 30. The TV station can challenge the judgment at the Chisinau Court of Appeal. 

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