Print Media Outlets Criticize the Decision to Increase the Newspaper Distribution Tariff. Posta Moldovei’s Reaction

The representatives of several media outlets publishing printed newspapers expressed their dissatisfaction after the cost of distributing editions was raised 3.4 times compared to the 2023 tariff, which has a critical impact on their activity. On the other hand, Posta Moldovei affirms this step is necessary for the continuity of the institution’s services.

In the statement published on December 4, the Ziarul de Garda (ZdG) newsroom states it has been faced with a 341% increase in the cost of distribution after receiving the contract from Posta Moldovei for newspaper distribution in 2024, “which has a critical impact on the newsroom’s ability to carry out the subscription campaign and to assume the obligation to produce the printed edition for the coming years.” “It means that the newsroom would also have to raise the costs of subscriptions by approximately 350%; however, more than 80% of the ZdG subscribers are retired or vulnerable persons, and we suppose most of them will no longer be able to pay for their subscriptions. (…) The ZdG requests the Government, the Parliamentary Media Commission, the media NGOs, and the development partners to analyze the risks this decision implies with utmost diligence, including the risk of closing the printed version of the ZdG,” the media institution emphasizes.

“The printed press is the only way to reach all the homes and localities, especially in the countryside, where citizens have no Internet connection and do not use social networks for obtaining unprofessional information. (…) It is quite obvious that the state enterprise causes an unprecedented abuse which exceeds any rational limits: by a unilateral decision, it increases the cost of distribution by 400-600%, depriving almost half a million citizens of their fundamental right to information and reading their favorite publications,” the appeal signed by the periodical’s newsroom representatives from the Republic of Moldova also emphasizes.

“In the midst of the subscription campaign, when subscription prices have already been announced, Posta Moldovei announces a 350% increase very calmly and serenely, which means that, for instance, the service which used to cost 1.31 lei currently is 5.70 lei. The subscription for 2024 will be compromised. We are also about to face another danger: the print circulations will decrease dramatically, and the print shops have warned us they will raise the prices,” Elena Cobasneanu, director of the institution, said during the Mass Media Forum held in Chisinau on December 4 and 5.

In their response, the national postal operator representatives argue that updating the costs for the distribution of periodicals is a necessary step to ensure the continuity of their services.

“Moreover, it has a direct impact on the staff’s salaries, especially due to the fact that more than 2000 mail carriers are involved in the distribution of periodicals. We had to adjust the tariffs to the level of the real expenses following the initiation of the mechanism the authorities implemented for supporting the newsrooms. This fact will ensure the service’s sustainability, newsrooms’ activity, and help maintain affordable prices for citizens. (…) We are aware of the fact that the subscription service for periodicals has its social impact, providing access to information for the country’s citizens,” the reply from Posta Moldovei to Media Azi states.

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