RTR Moldova sanctioned by the BC for an unbalanced news report about the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

The Broadcasting Council (BC) sanctioned the TV station RTR Moldova with a fine of 10,000 MDL for not balancing a news report with the opinion of Ukrainian representatives regarding the accusations of the Russian military about the fire at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. RTR Moldova was also sanctioned with 16,000 MDL for two violations of exceeding the number of advertising breaks in programs.

At the meeting of March 23, the BC examined the results of monitoring the News Moldova newscasts of March 3 and 4 on RTR Moldova. According to conclusions, in a news report of March 3, the station broadcast the statements of the Russian Ministry of Defense representatives regarding the progress of the offensive, and the official position of the Ukrainian side was missing.

Another monitored topic concerned the statements of the Russian side regarding the fire at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which was “qualified as a provocation on the part of Ukraine.” The BC noted that the news report overall “does not contain other information with documented background and with conclusive evidence that would confirm the statements and allegations made.” The newscast also contained two reports about the fire at the nuclear power plant – one with statements of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, which spoke about the level of radiation in the air, and another one with the statement of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who referred to the consequences that may occur after the fire. “In fact, in his video statement, President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke not only about the severity of the consequences of this fire, but also accused Russia of nuclear terror. Therefore, the statement of the Ukrainian president was torn out of context and presented partially,” the BC report says.

The BC specialists also found two advertising breaks on both monitored days, which is more than is allowed in a time frame.

The representatives of RTR Moldova, in a reply to the BC, admitted only the violations related to the dissemination of advertising, noting that the problem had been removed. The administration of RTR Moldova rejected the accusations regarding correct information, insisting that in one case there was no position of the Ukrainian side at the time of the newscast. Regarding the news report about the fire at the nuclear power plant, RTR Moldova claims that it provided several comments on the subject in the material and balanced the opinions. “All these opinions were about something else. By no means was this a balance of opinions or of the accusation as a reply to what the Russian official said. Everyone else spoke about the danger that this fire at the power plant might bring,” the BC’s Vice President Aneta Gonța said.

Thus, the BC sanctioned the station with 5,000 MDL for each of the two violations repeated in the news report about the nuclear power plant. The BC member Eugeniu Rîbca voted only for one fine, saying that he still believed that only one sanction should be applied. Violations related to the broadcasting of advertising amounted to 16,000 in total, 8,000 MDL for each violation.

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