NTV Moldova Fined 18 000 Lei and Publicly Warned Twice, Including for the May 9 Reports

The Broadcasting Council (BC) fined NTV Moldova 18 000 lei and twice publicly warned the TV channel at the meeting of June 3, including for inaccuracies in the reports on the May 9 demonstrations and “subjective opinions” expressed by one of the NTV Moldova show hosts. The sanctions were applied on the initiative of the BC members Larisa Turea and Orest Dabija, and also were based on the notification of the association.

The complaint filed by Larisa Turea referred to the monitoring of compliance with the legislation in the context of promulgation of the law which prohibits displaying the symbols associated with the military aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine in the Republic of Moldova. The monitoring lasted from April 19 to April 21. According to the BC, in the news on this topic, NTV Moldova breached the provisions of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services stipulating that a report must be based on reliable sources, sufficiently documented factually, and is supposed to have a credible and impartial approach to events, including balanced coverage of different opinions. The BC also mentions that, during the “Acces Direct” broadcast of April 19, its host Alexei Lungu expressed his views and opinions on the discussed topics, and during the program, he “demonstrated a biased approach towards the guest’s statements and supported his views. Sometimes, when asking questions, he mentioned that he expressed his own subjective opinion, which hinders free shaping of opinions.”

Deviations from the legislation were also detected in the “Stirile orei 19:00” informative program of May 9, which was monitored based on the notification from Orest Dabija. “In the topic ‘The Greatest Victory March,’ the significance of May 9 was described as the victory in the ‘Great Patriotic War,’ the name actually given to World War II by the Soviet Union. Thus, only the opinions of those who support this ideology were emphasized, without presenting any other historical data about World War II,” the BC explained. The council specifies that, in the news item entitled “St. George’s Ribbon Wins,” only the opinions of those who supported further promotion of the bicolor ribbon were presented, whereas other opinions supporting the current law banning the symbols related to Russian military aggression against Ukraine were omitted. The authority also had objections related to the data about the number of participants of the May 9 events presented by the channel.

The petition by referred to the news item dated May 12 and entitled “Gavrilita: We Have No Reasons for Concern.” Monitoring revealed a lack of coherence and accuracy in covering the topic, including the insertion of video footage of an attack of a group of people and explosions in the building of the so-called ministry of security in Tiraspol, after the general statements made by Gavrilita.

All the three complaints were eventually merged.

NTV Moldova representatives informed the BC that it had not breached the legislation in the report titled “The Greatest Victory March.” “May 9 was and still is a state holiday in the Republic of Moldova, and it is officially referred to as Victory Day and the commemoration of the heroes who lost their lives for the independence of the Fatherland. This is what all the people in the report were speaking about. It is unclear which other opinions were supposed to be presented in the report in order to provide balanced coverage of the events,” they replied. The channel’s administration affirms it did not commit any breaches while presenting the number of participants of the events of May 9, because the report covered two activities: the Victory March and the Immortal Regiment march, whereas the police administration mentioned only one of them. The TV channel also rejected objections to the report which included the speeches of the participants of the marches, affirming that they also presented relevant information about the context of the adoption of the law.

“In my opinion, the supplier in question commits repeated breaches, and this fact explains the presence of several complaints. It is obvious that we do not pay any special attention to them for any other reasons,” Orest Dabija said during the meeting.

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