Courts ping-pong the case of 6 TV channels suspended by ESC
The case of six TV channels suspended by the Emergency Situation Commission at the end of last year ended up in Chisinau Court of Appeal. Both institutions claim the case is within the other one’s competence and the solution would be offered by the Supreme Court of Justice on an indefinite date.
Primul în Moldova, Accent TV, TV6, Orhei TV, NTV Moldova and RTR Moldova complained in court the following day after ESC adopted a resolution to suspend their broadcasting licenses during the state of emergency. Initially, the complainant channels filed to Chisinau Court of Appeal that is competent to examine appeals against regulations.
The magistrates joined the six cases into one and sent it for examination to Chisinau Court, Rascani office, on the grounds that ESC’s resolution is an individual administrative document, not a regulation. Therefore, appeals against such a document should be judged by a trial court.
According to a decision of January 9, the magistrate of Chisinau Court ruled that ESC’s resolution is not an individual administrative document, but a regulation that should be challenged in the Court of Appeal. Therefore, the trial judge declared a negative conflict of jurisdictions, suspended the case examination and sent the file to the Supreme Court of Justice for it to determine exactly where the case of the six TV stations should be judged.
The Supreme Court of Justice held a hearing of the case on January 18, but postponed the arbitration indefinitely.
Cristina Durnea, lawyer at the Independent Journalism Center, claims that ESC’s resolution in the part related to suspending the licenses of the six TV channels meets all the specific criteria of an individual administrative document. “One does not need to have advanced legal expertise to conclude that the resolution in question regulates certain specific cases (suspends the licenses of suppliers X and Y), and the case needs to be tried by Chisinau Court, Rascani office. The assumption that ESC’s resolution is a regulation and the case must be examined by the Court of Appeal is absolutely wrong. For that matter, a regulation dictates mandatory rules for an undefined number of identical situations (e.g. suspends the license of all TV channels in the country)”, she argues.
The fact that “ESC’s resolution is an individual administrative document issued during the state of emergency” was also expressed by lawyer Andrei Bivol, member of the Press Council, in his interview for Media Azi.