about the organization of the debate “Online and written press in terms of political culture: responsibility for the tamed 2”, the 12th episode in the series “Developing political culture in public debates”. Series of public debates held by Info-Prim Neo news agency in its conference room”, supported by German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
The 12th and last debate within the project took place on October 19, 2012 and focused on the role of print and online press in the communication of society and political class, in forming or deforming political culture. The participants were Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Vasile Bumacov, editor in chief of the Romanian-language periodical “Saptamana” Viorel Mihai, director of the Russian-language periodical “Panorama” Dmitri Ciubasenco, editor in chief of the online news portal Unimedia, as well as experts Georgeta Stepanov, dean of USM’s Faculty of Journalism and Sciences of Communication and member of the Press Council, and Igor Botan, director of the Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT.
The Agency found it necessary to approach the issue of political culture in two separate large press categories: the broadcasted press on one side, and print and online media on the other. The reasons for such an approach include the different impacts of these media and the different regulations that apply to them. We might say that the amount of regulation decreases as follows: electronic press, print media, online press, individual online communication activities, and so on. The legal responsibilities and those referring to political culture come accordingly. Part of the print and online media, in tandem with political groups of interest, often cross many deontological, moral, educational and other limits. During the debates, many samples of such behavior were presented. Particularly was brought the example of an online portal which claims to be an analytical one, but has no other goal than to maintain the state of division in Moldovan society according to various criteria, including the political one.
According to participants, online journalism is a new and efficient domain, but still dangerous because of the lack of regulation, which provides a shelter for professional cowardice. All mass media institutions must be aware of their responsibility, especially when they have a big impact upon the public. Another debated thesis concerned the professionalism in print and online media considering the tabloidization of press both in terms of offer and supply. “It’s about professionalism, because a professional journalist knows how to present in an interesting way a serious and important news, not only the shocking news”, remarked one of the participants.
As regards the print and online media’s relationship with the public, the participants said that politicians throughout the whole world tried to control the press, but they don’t get this chance everywhere. For example, they can’t do so in European countries that have a high level of political culture. The participants named examples worthy to follow, such as Germany, regarding the behavior of the political class in relation to the press.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Vasile Bumacov, representative of the political class in the debates, listed among his expectations from the press more responsibility for what the press does, the press’s participation in promoting the interests of society and of the state, especially in strategic fields, such as fighting what he called the “cult of poverty” widely popular on national level.
Project expert Igor Botan, director of the Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT, has noted that, despite its manipulative trait, the press remains the second most trusted institution according to opinion polls. He thinks that in Moldova there should more diverse media sources, because society is fragmented as well. According to the expert, the greatest problem of modernity is the massive information flow and the public’s capacity to receive and assimilate this information. Botan thinks that political culture is about the masses and it can be raised bit by bit, but that depends on the managers and journalists who know how to anticipate the readers’ preferences.
The Agencu published 4 news reports on the debate (see the English version of www.info-prim.md: on 20.10.12, „Press must be responsible for it output, public debates” - http://info-prim.md/?a=10&nD=2012/10/20&ay=49928, „Promoting poverty in media is disastrous, Minister ” - http://info-prim.md/?a=10&nD=2012/10/20&ay=49937, on 22.10.12, „Politicians in Moldova want to control press, debates ” - http://info-prim.md/?a=10&nD=2012/10/22&ay=49942 , on 24.10.12 „Three academic years is too little to raise a good journalist, dean” - http://info-prim.md/?a=10&nD=2012/10/24&ay=49999.
In conclusion of the debate series that took place in 2012, the Agency dares to affirm that this form of tackling a issue that is new to Moldovan politics, such as the political culture, stroke roots, and established itself before the public, the press and the political class. With some small exceptions, the invited high dignitaries did accept the invitations, the invited experts showed great interest, while the press showed moderate interest. We consider it a merit of the project the fact that the topic of political culture, practically in the same format and approach as used by Info-Prim Neo agency, came into the spotlight of several TV channels’ studios. We think the topic deserves continuation.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of Info-Prim Neo
October, 22, 2012
Press Release about the organization of the debate “Online and written press in terms of political culture: responsibility for the tamed 2”, the 12th episode in the series “Developing political culture in public debates”.