Press Council warns that facts should be separated from opinions

The Press Council of Moldova warned the journalists and editorial staffs about the deontological obligation to make a clear distinction between the facts and opinions in news stories. The warning was made following the examination of a complaint against the private channel Jurnal TV submitted by MP Chiril Lucinschi, who heads the Parliament’s commission in culture, education, research, sport and mass media, IPN reports.

According to the lawmaker, in a Jurnal TV report about a roundtable meeting staged by the commission, he was groundlessly accused of defending the broadcasters who do not want to comply with the Broadcasting Coordination Council’s decision aimed at promoting the national broadcasting products. In his complaint to the Press Council, Chiril Lucinschi says the information broadcast by the TV channel is based on sequences taken out of context and present the subject of the public hearings, where he pleaded for exempting the TV channels that promote the national patrimony from paying taxes, in a distorted way. The MP denies the channel’s accusations that he promotes disloyal competition in the broadcasting sector.

At the request of the Press Council, Jurnal TV pronounced on this complaint. In a letter, the channel’s director general Adrian Gatu says the TV channel didn’t commit deviations from the legislation or the Journalist’s Deontological Code, while the dissatisfaction of MP Chiril Lucinschi with the quality of the report is unfounded and implies interference in the channel’s editorial freedom.

Analyzing the report, the Press Council didn’t identify serious violations of the deontological norms. It yet recommended clearly separating the facts from opinions so as not to affect the impartiality of the news and impose authors’ personal convictions on the viewers. It also recommended offering the right to reply to Chiril Lucinschi, but this is a moral obligation rather than a legal one.

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