Media NGOs Express Their Concern about Signs of Censorship at GRT

Several non-governmental media organizations are “deeply concerned about signs of censorship demonstrated by the regional public broadcaster in Comrat” after video recordings of an unannounced meeting of the Council of Observers of Gagauziya Radio Televizionu were recently published by an activist and borrowed by the press presumably revealed the existence of elements of censorship at GRT.

The images from the meeting of the Council of Observers supposedly held on January 19 were published by the activist Olga Parzany last month; it should be mentioned in this context that, since the end of last year, no meetings were public, though it was mandatory according to the legislation, the portal journalists explain.

According to the records, Oxana Kihayal, the GRT portal ex-editor, complains that executive director Vasile Dermenji allegedly asked her to delete a news item from the website without providing any explanations. The item concerned several expert opinions, according to which the promise to supply natural gas at the price of 10 lei for the residents of the region was based on fake information and manipulation. Besides, according to her, the press service of the Executive Committee of the Gagauz autonomy periodically requested to publish press releases on the website, and a representative of the press service was present in the newsroom chat. Another video includes a discussion about GRT airing the programs of the Primul in Moldova channel which had a suspended license and was affiliated with Ilan Sor. Some Council members try to find out why the executive director and editor-in-chief decided that the broadcasts from this channel had to be aired by their own station, while the others justified the decision of their superiors.

During the meeting, the GRT executive director refused to provide any explanations for the accusations, according to the cited source, and the topics examined were left without any decisions.

In a public statement, several media NGOs condemned the attempts of illegal interference in the media outlets’ editorial activity and demanded to investigate these signals pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova.

Media Azi has previously written about the fact that the Gagauziya Radio Televizionu public company aired newscasts and analytical programs of the Primul in Moldova channel. “In its activity, GRT is guided by the legislation and regulations imposed by the central authorities,” Vasile Dermenji told us at the time. He was appointed the company’s executive director in August 2023. Before assuming this position, he was a lawyer working for the “Pentru Orhei” Association. The organization was registered in 2015 and is affiliated with the Sor Party.

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