The press in the Republic of Moldova is partially free and continues to be marked by problems that do not allow it to work and to develop in optimal conditions. Compared with the previous years, the state of the press has worsened the past year, with alarming backsliding being witnessed. The freedom of the media depends on the environment in which the press and the journalists work, the political context, the access to information, the economic context and the legal framework that regulates the sector, Nadine Gogu, executive director of the Independent Journalism Center, stated in a plenary meeting of the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum entitled “Freedom of the media in the Republic of Moldova and start of the campaign “Europe Month” within the National Platform”, IPN reports.
According to Nadine Gogu, from the perspective of the political context, last year was a year with challenges for the independent press. Many journalists were the target of denigrating messages on the part of high-ranking officials. They were intimidated and complaints against them were filed to the police so as to exert pressure on the mass media. The journalists of the independent media had their access to information limited, while the Audiovisual Code was used as a political cudgel to tempter the critical voices of some of the media outlets, while the violations committed by the politically affiliated radio stations remained unnoticed. To remedy the situation of the media, a plan of measures for diminishing political influence on the media should be designed.
Petru Macovei, executive director of the Association of Independent Press, said that the Association in 2019-2020 promoted priorities in the mass media related to the de-monopolization of the advertising market and ensuring of the efficiency of the Competition Council in investigating and punishing cartel agreements on the advertising market, ensuring of access to information of public interest and working out of the legal framework needed for implementing the national media development concept, improvement of the legislation concerning the covering of elections and designing of a system of concessions to stimulate the development of the media. A number of bills concerning the media weren’t adopted and implemented. A system for supporting the media outlets of social importance is needed and the state should change its attitude to the mass media.
Attending the event, EU Ambassador to Moldova Peter Michalko said World Press Freedom Day reminds the authorities of the necessity of fulfilling the commitments related to the freedom of the press, of celebrating the basic principles of the freedom of the press, of assessing the freedom of the press in the world, of defending the media from attacks on their independence and of paying tribute to the journalists. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU has intensified its support for the players of civil society, the independent media and journalists as part of the package Team Europe. This year, the key message promoted on Europe Day is “Solidary for Health. Together for a better future”. The EU and Team Europe are solidarity with the Moldovans and come with the message that “together we can overcome the pandemic”. The EU will remain near the mass media so as to support their efforts, while the subject of the mass media will remain a constant point in the EU’s dialogue with the authorities, as the assistance and its planning will be.
Lilia Carasciuc, coordinator of Working Group No.1 “Democracy, human rights, good governance and stability” of the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, said the media not only inform about the advantages of the European path for Moldova, but also cultivates values that are necessary for the Moldovans to consider themselves really Europeans, such as democracy and justice. This is possible only through the agency of the media. “Through the mass media, they attempt to exert pressure on the law enforcement agencies so as to react to well-founded journalistic investigations. To be freer and better heard, the journalists need to be supported,” stated Lilia Carasciuc.
The Press Freedom Days in Moldova are celebrated throughout May.