New decision concerning media coverage of COVID-19

Not even a day after the chairman of the Audiovisual Council annulled his own decision that generated criticism, the Council adopted a new decision on the method of covering the epidemiological situation determined by COVID-19 in Moldova. Under the decision, the providers of media services will be obliged to broadcast information about COVID-19 exclusively from mandatorily verified sources, by mandatorily presenting the position of the competent pubic authorities, IPN reports.

In all the audiovisual news and debate programs centering on the consequence generated by the COVID-19 pandemic at national and foreign levels, the journalists will abide exclusively by the principles of correct informing.

The audiovisual services should mandatorily broadcast exhaustive information about the state of emergency as a matter of urgency and should immediately disseminate the data and official press releases of the Commission of Exceptional Situations and other public authorities. The given information will be mandatorily presented in full, including by ensuring sign language interpretation or synchronous subtitling so that all the citizens have access to it.

The draft decision was adopted by the unanimous vote of the five Audiovisual Council members attending the meeting, of the nine. The Council’s chairman Dragoș Vicol said the decision does not impose punitive measures and does not stipulate fines.

The chairman of the Audiovisual Council Dragoș Vicol annulled his ordinance by which the journalists were obliged to make reference only to official sources when covering subjects concerning the COVID-19 pandemic following the criticism it attracted from a number of journalists and nongovernmental organizations.

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