Moldova has a big problem with transparency of media ownership, API

Moldova has a big problem as regards the transparency of media ownership. The people don’t know who the owners of the main TV channels and news sites are. The opinion is shared by the members of the Independent Press Association (API), who investigated the issue trying to test the transparency in this field and to find out how much information can be obtained, Info-Prim Neo reports. API executive director Petru Macovei declared on Thursday, October 25, during a press conference that pluralism and diversity were key elements in the process of strengthening a democracy. In ensuring these two elements, the economic factor is just as important as the political one and that is why media ownership must be transparent. “The people have the right to know the owners of institutions through which a message is delivered to them, as this message can be manipulating. Both the TV and radio audiences and readers of newspapers or news sites need to know who the owners of these institutions are in order to consider the possible affiliation of the latter to political parties of groups of economic interest”, said the director. Petru Macovei said that the Government’s activity program included the amendment of legislation with special provisions regarding transparency and preventing the concentration of media ownership. However, so far it has been only talk. API member Alina Radu, director of the Ziarul de Garda weekly, declared that the situation in Moldova created unequal conditions for mass media and media owners. Considering the total obscurity, the competition that should be free, legal and open instead threatens to shut down institutions that stick to deontological journalism because the money goes to obscure institutions instead of the open ones. Alina Radu said that according to info obtained from institutions, several Moldovan TV channels are owned by foreign citizens. Other unofficial data suggest that most the owners of TV channels are members of the Moldovan Parliament. Sergiu Ozon, journalist of the Bucharest Center for Investigative Journalism, said that the transparency of ownership is necessary for preventing monopoly on the media market. Other reasons are that this way the economic and political relations of people involved in media institutions can be revealed and thus unfair competition and conflicts of interests can be avoided. API members presented a good practice guide regarding the transparency of media ownership, which they recommend to media institutions. The guide contains info about the criteria and the data set that mass media must make public for strengthening the people’s trust and thus contributing to the consolidation of the media sector as a whole. The press conference was organized with the support of German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”, as part of the project “European integration as a national idea with the potential of strengthening Moldovan society”.
  • petru macovei despre proprietarii institutiilor mass-media.mp3
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