The Broadcasting Council (BC) fined Jurnal TV 5 000 lei and issued three public warnings, and PRO TV Chisinau received one public warning for breaching the rules on providing correct information about the war in Ukraine in the news. These decisions were taken upon examining several petitions.
The complaints from citizen Oleg Petraru regarding Jurnal TV and Natalia Daschevici regarding both Jurnal TV and Pro TV Chisinau were examined on April 15.
In the case of Jurnal TV, the petitioner listed several breaches related to the coverage of the war in Ukraine in the newscast on March 1, “which does not include the opinion of the authorities of the Russian Federation.” After the monitoring, the BC identified several breaches. “The topics touching upon the armed conflict in Ukraine were insufficiently reflected, the lack of reliability of the sources or their absence, the lack of indicators or emblems identifying the inserted video sequences, and the lack of opposing views were detected,” Victoria Cecan, the head of the TV Monitoring Department, said.
For instance, the material presented by a special TV reporter in Ukraine included some rumors, and the news was “presented without factual support or indicating the source of its origin.” According to the BC, in such cases, it should be specified that the information cannot be confirmed. Besides, no official reactions or the source of images of alleged Russian prisoners were presented in another news item. The BC also monitored the material on the situation of refugee children. According to the institution, the material is based on the case of a boy left by his father at the Ukrainian border with the Republic of Moldova and sheltered by a family from the Republic of Moldova. The channel provided many details about the child, such as his name, and the family sheltering him, and the reporter asked the boy if he was afraid. “The vulnerability of the minor’s age and his psycho-emotional state were not taken into account while presenting this case. In addition, not all the necessary steps were taken to protect the minor’s identity in a complicated situation,” Cecan added.
Pro TV Chisinau was mentioned in the second petition. The petitioner claims that in the evening newscast of March 19, manipulative news about the war which did not include various opinions was broadcast. She also claims that some news items were presented without referring to any official sources.
The BC established that in the materials, several opinions from both parties of the conflict were presented, “therefore, the positions were balanced.” As to the external sources of information, such as the BBC, Sky News, etc., the specialists from the authority believe they are relevant in war conditions. “When reflecting an armed conflict, it is difficult to use official sources only, because they cannot cover the entire spectrum of information and evidence in real time. For this reason, external sources of information well-known in this field can be used to provide more profound information of specific events and images from the ground,” Victoria Cecan affirmed.
At the same time, the BC representatives confirmed that in a topic regarding the events in Mariupol, the source of the images borrowed had not been indicated.
Jurnal TV initially announced that the authority should reject the petition filed by Natalia Daschevici, also because no such person could be found in any public databases. In another letter, Jurnal TV provided an explanation regarding the reports by the special correspondent from Odessa, stating that it was a live broadcast “where all the information from the personal observations was presented, including what people were saying on the spot. It was a live broadcast about what was going on there in those moments.” As to the subject of Russian soldiers taken as prisoners, the supplier specified that “the material was based on the official information spread by the Ukrainian intelligence service, including the video images obtained from this institution.” As to the minor refugee case, the channel stated that “being informed of the terrible fates of children affected by war is in the public’s best interest.” Victoria Cecan specified that, in that case, the child protection legislation provides for observing the rights of minors both as program consumers and protagonists of the broadcasts.
The position of Pro TV Chisinau was not mentioned.
The BC representatives specified that the name of Natalia Daschevici could be found in the databases, and Eugeniu Ribca, the BC member, suggested that petitioners’ identities should not be verified not to intimidate the public. Liliana Vitu, the head of the BC, emphasized that journalists could modify names of minor protagonists, informing the public about this fact: this practice is commonly used by the international press to protect their identity.