Campaigns promoting professional media and access to information, first time events, various training activities for journalists, topical studies and research and commentaries and analyses for the general public are just some of the activities carried out by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) throughout 2015.
The Training and Communications Department focused on several activities, i.e., media education, promoting tolerance and responsibility in the press, and training journalists. To promote critical thinking among consumers of the news, the IJC team visited several localities in Moldova and held meetings with students and teachers in which they discussed the role of the media and how their messages should be perceived. Following consultations with several experts in the field and with university professors, a proposal to integrate media education in school and university curricula was drafted and sent to the Ministry of Education. Likewise, the IJC organized a media education camp for students titled “Filter Information.”
“The press does not hate!” was the slogan of a large-scale campaign organized by the IJC that involved journalists, media experts, civil activists, students and the general public. Training sessions for journalists and moderators of websites, lessons for students in faculties of journalism, discussion clubs with students from the Chisinau School of Advanced Journalism (CSAJ), and video productions were all part of a campaign aimed at promoting tolerance and responsibility in the press.
As part of the campaign “We want access to Parliament!,” the IJC brought back into the public eye the issue of access of print media to the Parliamentary session hall. On this occasion, the IJC organized several awareness-raising actions through which participants reminded MPs that by limiting the access of journalists to Parliament, the right of citizens to information was limited as well. In 2015 the IJC also organized two new events: “Puterea a cincea” (The fifth estate), the first hackathon of Moldovan civic journalism, and Multimedia Innovation Lab “Jurnalismul dronelor” (“Journalism by Drones”).
In 2015 the IJC’s Media Azi portal continued the cycle of comments that started in 2014 and addressed issues related to promoting European standards in national media. Similarly, interviews with personalities in the field who revealed the situation in the media and proposed ideas to solve existing problems were posted. Media Azi also followed and presented news about the work of the Parliamentary Commission on Journalism, the Broadcast Coordinating Council (BCC), and the Observers’ Council of public broadcaster Teleradio Moldova to get Parliament to adopt the main amendments to the Broadcasting Code; about the changes at public broadcaster Teleradio Moldova and the public station in the Gagauz Autonomy; about the issues raised at the first Media Forum in Moldova and other important events.
As for research activities, the IJC launched for the first time a study about manipulation and propaganda in media. It analysed whether hate speech is present in online media and how it is manifested. The IJC also presented an extensive study about the situation at the Supervisory Board of Teleradio Moldova in the past six years.
The Media Law and Policy Department (MLPD) monitored the evolution of legislation in the field of broadcasting and abuses against representatives of the press and also provided legal assistance to media outlets and their representatives. The department also organized training sessions for journalists on legal issues related to obtaining public information. In order to inform journalists and media outlets about the latest legislative amendments in the field, six legislative bulletins were drafted. Similarly this year, the practical guide Accesul la informație, fără baricade (Access to Information without Barricades) was published.
For the CSAJ, the year 2015 was marked by achievements and many exciting events. Students successfully completed the ten-month course during which they acquired practical skills in editorial work. The admission commission made up of the CSAJ trainers selected 14 applicants who starting on1 September 2015 became CSAJ students.
In 2015 the IJC also held two traditional events aimed at defending the freedom of the press and promoting quality journalism: “Zilele Libertății Presei” (Press Freedom Days) in May and the annual gala of the Press Club in December in which the journalists of the year were honored. The IJC also continued to edit the magazine Mass-media în Moldova (Media in Moldova), the biannual analytical publication covering media issues as it has done since 1995.
In 2016, the IJC intends to carry out new projects and activities that will contribute to the affirmation of an independent press and to professional journalism in Moldova.
In line with the curriculum, the CSAJ worked in two phases: completing the academic year 2014–2015 and beginning a new academic year.
Phase I (January–July 2015)
Training. From January to April 2015, the CSAJ continued to train students enrolled in the academic year 2014–2015. For print media, semester II began with Press Management with trainer Nicolae Sanduleac, Director of the newspaper Unghul (The Angle) from Ungheni; journalist and producer Dorin Scobioala, Director of CAT Studio, for television; and Valentin Niculescu, Director of Radio Chisinau for radio. Training courses continued with advanced modules whose purpose was to enhance the knowledge and skills that the students obtained in the first half of the academic year.
The modules were the following:
- Political Journalism taught by trainer Alina Turcanu, Senior Editor at Radio Free Europe for internal topics, and Sorina Stefarta, Editor of the supplement Obiectiv European for international topics;
- Economic Journalism led by economic expert and businessman Vladimir Bolea and economic journalist Anatol Caslaru, Editor at Publika TV;
- Visual Journalism, in which media designer Angela Ivanesi taught future journalists how to layout a newspaper and create infographics;
- Environmental Journalism led by Lilia Churchi, an expert in the field;
- Social Journalism with trainer Vitalie Dogaru, Senior Editor at Publika TV;
- Investigative Journalism taught by Alina Radu, Director of the investigative newspaper Ziarul de Gardă;
- Community Journalism in which trainer Petru Macovei took students to the village of Rusestii Noi where they wrote, edited and laid out the village newspaper from start to finish.
The last three courses were the most comprehensive.
As in previous years, the theoretical component was complemented with a practical one; each course ended with one, two or three practical tasks depending on the duration and complexity of the module. Also, for a better understanding of the socio-political environment in which journalists will work, several trainers invited specialists or responsible persons from some of the fields concerned. This allowed students to learn first hand about issues and to know the specifics of the work and of the people in the field (information sources) which would be helpful in preparing articles.
Graduation. After completing the courses, the students were involved for two weeks in preparing final projects which are the culmination of the ten months of study and confirm the knowledge and skills acquired. Each student was guided in this process by a tutor from among the CSAJ trainers who intervened only when necessary. Typically the final projects were the individual work of the students. They needed to plan all phases of preparation and to decide how their articles would be “packaged.” Two articles were produced for online media (Cristina Straton and Tatiana Ungureanu); two for print media (Diana Stefarta and Ana Maria Veverita); three for radio (Dina Josan, Parascovia Sula and Irina Baxan) and five for TV (Mariana Buciuceanu, Diana Laptedulce, Alina Pisica, Anastasia Cucuruz and Ghenadie Brega). It was gratifying that most graduates chose to work on social topics.
The trainees presented their work in late May to colleagues, a commission of well-known Moldovan journalists (Vasile Butnaru, Director of Radio Free Europe in Moldova; Vitalie Dogaru, Senior Editor at Publika TV, Sorina Stefarta, Director of the CSAJ; Oxana Iutes, Producer of “Sinteza” on Prime TV; and Elena Cioina, Media Coordinator at e-sănătate.md portal) and trainers who attended the event. Each paper was analyzed publicly and commission members conferred on the marks they gave.
Also at this time, the traditional Career Day was held to help students know prospective employers in addition to their already established relationships with trainers. To this end, the CSAJ administration conducted a survey of the students to find out which media representatives they wanted to meet. Invitees told CSAJ trainees about their editorial policies, explained the conditions of employment and offered them a chance to be interns on their editorial teams. Career Day also included a special session dedicated to writing a CV.
The persons invited to Career Day 2015 were the following:
- Victor Gotisan, Roxana Teodorcic (FHI 360) on writing a CV;
- Elena Cioina, Media Coordinator, platform www.e-sanatate.md;
- Dumitru Ciorici, Director, www.agora.md;
- Dumitru Tara, Director of the Realitatea Media Group;
- George Damian, Senior Editor of Adevărul Moldova;
- Valeriu Vasilica, Director of Info-Prim Neo news agency;
- Eugenia Nastase, Director of the News Department at Jurnal TV;
- Mariana Jacot, reporter at TV 7 and graduate of CSAJ.
June, the last month at the CSAJ, was devoted to internships that the graduates undertook at various editorial offices in Chisinau. It is a unique experience that allows students to discover if they have made the right choice and to be aware of what being a journalist means. It is also a chance to negotiate possible employment.
The internship sites were identified jointly with the students and then discussed with the managers of the outlets. A positive trend, in our opinion, was the reduction in the number of students oriented toward TV as 5 of the 12 graduates chose online media, 2 chose radio, 1 opted for print media and just 4 chose TV. The CSAJ administration closely monitors how students complete their assignments by communicating with the managers and editors of the institutions. The articles the interns produced are published on the CSAJ Facebook page.
The academic year 2014–2015 ended on June 19. At a festive ceremony to which all trainers were invited, the 12 students received certificates of graduation.
Admission. Along with the ongoing activities, in March 2015 the CSAJ administration conducted an extensive recruitment campaign for admission to the 2015–2016 class. To this end, meetings were held with students at universities in Balti and Comrat and at Moldova State University and the University of European Studies. In addition, a comprehensive campaign was launched in April to promote CSAJ in the media. Sorina Stefarta, Director of the CSAJ, participated in several radio and TV programs (http://trm.md/ro/radio/; www.national.fm, www.noroktv.md), and the announcement/banner offering information about admission was published in the most important national and regional media sources as well as on their websites (www.zdg.md; www.expresul.com; www.unghiul.info; www.api.md; www.ecoul.md; www.ctj.md; www.cuvantulliber.md; www.estcurier.md; www.cuvintul.md; www.dancaranfil.com; Ошибка! Недопустимый объект гиперссылки. www.ziarulnational.md; www.unimedia.info; www.diez.md). Video clips promoting the CSAJ on Canal Regional, Aici TV and MBC were broadcast. Civil society was also informed about admission on the website of the CSAJ (www.scoaladejurnalism.md) and on the website of the IJC (www.media-azi.md).
Applications were collected in two phases, so the admissions commission made up of trainers and media managers met twice. The five members of the commission examined the applications and the results of the written test taken at the CSAJ and conducted interviews. At the end of July, 15 students had been recruited though later one dropped out for personal reasons. Of the 14 students enrolled, 13 come from/live in Chisinau municipality, and one is from the Gagauz Autonomy. Their average age is 26 years (ranging between 21 and 45 years old).
Students in this tenth CSAJ class have bachelor’s degrees in law, history, psychology, foreign languages and literature, computer science, international relations, arts, theatre studies, economics, administrative sciences, agronomy, journalism and communication. Five of them continue to work part time in the press and in the non-government sector. Three are also master's degree students.
Phase II (September–December 2015)
Introduction. The academic year 2015–2016, the tenth at CSAJ, started on September 1. Before the course started, several trainers and CSAJ graduates greeted the new students and offered advice on how to overcome any difficulties they might encounter with their studies. Semester I began with the introductory modules. The first course was Introduction to Journalism (trainers Vasile Butnaru, Director of Radio Free Europe and Sorina Stefarta, Director of the CSAJ) which lasted three days and was an overview of the structure of the media space in Moldova and also offered basic principles of journalism. Also, students were taught techniques of information collection and angles of approach to topics covered in the media as well as the concepts of objectivity, impartiality, sources, accuracy and journalistic ethics.
A day dedicated to the Role of Press Cartoons (by illustrator Sergiu Tomsa) followed. This is a new course at CSAJ that was introduced following the terrorist attack in Paris in January 2015 at the editorial office of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo because of cartoons it had published. The course aims to understand the power a drawing can have in the press and to discuss the freedom of expression and its limits.
Another new course in 2015–2016 is Population Journalism (trainer Vitalie Dogaru, Senior Editor at Publika TV), developed with the logistical support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Moldova. Its purpose is to familiarize students with the general concepts of demography and terms in the field to help them understand how important it is for society that the media addresses issues related to population—human development, quality of life, active aging—that are highly topical today.
The curriculum continued with the following courses that helped students learn, step by step, to produce material in different genres:
- News (Vitalie Dogaru and Diana Railean, Reporter at Radio Free Europe and CSAJ graduate);
- Photojournalism (Nicolae Pojoga);
- Long articles (Alina Radu, Director of the newspaper Ziarul de Gardă);
- Interviews (Vitalie Dogaru);
- Visual Journalism (designer Angela Ivanesi);
- Radio Journalism (Vasile Butnaru; Liliana Barbarosie, Reporter at Radio Free Europe and CSAJ graduate and Liliana Nicolae, journalist at Radio Free Europe, Bucharest);
- TV Journalism (Dorin Scobioala, Oxana Iutes and Andrei Cibotaru).
The last two were preceded by a technical module introducing production materials for radio/TV led by Sergiu Tudos, Technical Director at Radio Free Europe and film director Dumitru Marian from Atelier Sergiu Prodan Creative Studio.
In radio and TV journalism, the students begin to better understand what editorial work and the work of a journalist mean because both courses are structured to work in real time. In the first weeks, theory is combined with practice while the week conventionally called “Newsroom” is based mainly on practice. The students are tasked to prepare articles in teams of two to three and then to integrate their products into a radio/TV newscast on a daily basis. To that end, the day begins with event planning, and in the evening the trainer analyzes their “newscasts” with them.
This approach is another example of how the practical component is essential at the CSAJ. In the first half of academic year 2015–2016 with few exceptions (such as the course dedicated to cartoons), each module ended with one/two/three practical assignments. In addition to assessing their output, trainers analyze their work publicly with the students so they can see their mistakes and weaknesses and what they should correct in the future. It is a valid principle, including in specialized courses such as Media Legislation (led by lawyer Tatiana Puiu) or Ethics and Diversity in the Media (trainer Nadine Gogu, Director of the IJC). Regarding this module, in response to the many ethical challenges and dilemmas faced by the press in a democratic society, in 2015–2016 the emphasis was on diversity. To discuss sensitive topics with a “primary source,” the students met with Ion Duminica, Chief of the Ethnic Minorities Section of the Institute of the Cultural Heritage of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova and Angela Frolov, representative of the organization Genderdoc-M. They discussed gender equality with gender expert Daniela Terzi-Barbarosie.
Extracurricular courses. In addition to the basic courses, from September to December, students attended two hours per week of Romanian Stylistics (led by linguist Cristina Mogaldea), and 10 attended free of charge two courses of English at a school for foreign languages in the capital. Thus, in this academic year the CSAJ returned to the practice of giving trainees a chance to improve their language skills.
Also, for the third consecutive year at the end of November a workshop on Using Open Data was held. Guided by Dumitru Lazur, media expert from Moldova and Daniel Bojin, investigative journalist with the RISE Project in Romania, students learned for three days how to work with tools and applications that facilitate documenting an article. For a better understanding of the subject, the training focused on materials and practical tools. Trainees learned how to “read” the data, how to interpret them and generate graphs and how to make this information comprehensible to media consumers.
The tradition of discussion clubs continued in 2015 as well. In the first half of the year, at an event supported by FHI 360, discussions focused mainly on European integration. Some of the invitees were European ambassadors Artur Michalski (Poland), Ingrid Tersman (Sweden) and Robert Kirnag (Slovakia) and Wicher Slagter, Chief of the Policy and Economy Department of the European Union (EU) Delegation, Deputy Minister of Education Loretta Handrabura and economic expert Natan Garstea. Jack Ronald, editor of the newspaper The Commercial Review in Portland, Indiana in the United States (US) and journalist Cristina Liberis from Romania who specializes in European issues also talked to the students about the standards of journalism in the US and the EU.
In autumn and beyond, the discussion clubs focused on the numerous social problems in Moldova. Students talked about combating hate speech with journalists Charles Haquet and Iulia Badea Guéritée from France and also with Moldovan activist Oleg Brega. Lithuanian experts Laurynas Kasčiūnas and Tomas Dapkus approached the issue of propaganda as a key element in an information war. Moldovan journalist Yuri Goligorsky who has worked at the BBC for three decades rising from newsreader at the Russian language service to Chief for Development of the BBC Department of America and Europe focused on journalism and the golden rules of the job, and social assistant Ecaterina Golovatai, representative of the Inclusive Community project of Keystone Moldova Association explained how the press can contribute to the deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities and to their social inclusion.
The year culminated with a premiere at the CSAJ: students became “official reporters” at the Press Club gala of 2015. They conducted interviews with winners that were published on the IJC website (www.media-azi.md). For many students this was their first journalistic experience. Detailed information about activities at the CSAJ are published regularly on the website www.scoaladejurnalism.md and on the CSAJ Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/scoaladejurnalism/?fref=ts).
Impact. One of the ways to assess the impact of the CSAJ on domestic media space is monitoring graduates' professional paths. In the last academic year, 8 of the 12 graduates chose journalism as a career.
- Anastasia Cucuruz is a reporter at the online news portal www.politik.md. She writes articles for the Investigative Journalism Center and the National Center for Prevention of Child Abuse and is a local reporter for Transylvania Regional Business at www.trb.ro, a news and economic analysis portal in Romania.
- Ghenadie Brega writes for Ziarul de Gardă and for the IJC.
- Diana Laptedulce chose TV journalism and is currently employed at TNT Bravo where she prepares the program “Istorii Urbane” (Urban Stories).
- Irina Baxan also chose TV journalism and is a reporter at the station in Balti.
- Cristina Straton is passionate about environmental journalism and writes articles for www.ecopresa.md and the magazine Natura.
- Parascovia Sula is a reporter at www.e-sanatate.md.
- Ana-Maria Veverita writes for Ziarul de Garda and for IDIS Viitorul.
- Diana Stefarta works at the Young Journalist Center of Moldova and at public station Radio Moldova.
The other four graduates have not yet found their professional paths in the media, but with 67 percent employed, we can say that in general CSAJ reached its key objectives: a better informed public in Moldova; a more advanced level of training for journalists; a more professional press.
The impact of the current students on the quality of Moldovan media can be assessed only at the end of the 2015–2016 academic year, but meanwhile we congratulate current student Lia Ciutac, reporter at the newspaper Timpul, on winning the Environmental Journalism Award organized by the Association of Journalists for Environmental and Ecological Tourism in Moldova. She can proudly add her name to the list of CSAJ graduates who have received various journalistic awards.
Every year the IJC organizes several training programs designed to contribute to the professional improvement of journalists. In 2015, the training offerings were quite varied owing to the needs of media representatives and included media management, ethics, access to information, European integration and communication with the media among others.
European integration and ways to make it comprehensible to the public was the subject of two training courses for a group of 25 journalists. At the session held on April 24 and 25, trainees and program facilitator Cristina Liberis (Romania) agreed that the European topic requires a consistent approach since the pre-accession and accession processes take time, and the public should be informed continuously and comprehensively so as not to lose interest in the subject. In the May 29 and 30 session, journalist Ognyan Georgiev (Bulgaria) explained in detail the experience of European integration in Bulgaria and the similarities with Moldova in terms of reforms to be implemented regarding corruption.
Jurnal TV reporter Valentina Mocate, a participant in this course, believed that such programs are helpful and welcome for Moldovan journalists, namely through the involvement of international experts, particularly from European integration predecessors. “For the fourth estate in Moldova, European topics are more complex than they seem to be at first glance. The practical application of theoretical knowledge with the support of specialists is a perfect exercise before the media fight to objectively cover events, a step forward in launching proper questions to get constructive answers.”
On June 19 and 20, the training program offered to journalists was “Issues related to population and development: how we approach them in the media” in which the 22 participants learned techniques to approach and to document the dynamics of population, reproductive health, family planning and population aging. The event was organized by the IJC in partnership with UNFPA Moldova and HelpAge International Moldova. In the opinion of the participants, the training was useful helping them to better understand how they can transform figures and statistics into captivating stories, including through visual design elements. For example, Maxim Commisarov from the newspaper SP (Balti) noted, “Following the training I have more ideas that I can turn into articles and I prepared a list of new sources of information on population. I will also be more careful in writing about different categories of population so as not to encourage negative stereotypes in society.” As a result of participating in the training program, journalists will be able to apply the knowledge gained in documenting, writing and publishing material about population dynamics and in forming a positive image of older people who have a decisive role in creating a society for all ages.
Training in Communication
From July to September, the IJC offered 46 communicators the opportunity to exchange experiences on techniques for communicating with the media, on visibility and on promoting their organizations. Trainees discussed their experiences communicating with print media, the difficulties they encountered and planning communication, i.e., why it is important for them to be included in communication strategies and plans which should serve as guidance for each non-government organization (NGO). Program facilitators Inga Burlacu and Vitalie Dogaru helped trainees review their attitudes toward relations with the media which is a key element in communications and public relations. The trainees offered solutions to overcome deficiencies in communication and were encouraged to show flexibility to face any challenges that might arise in communicating with print media. These activities were organized as part of the project “Advocacy campaigns for ensuring the transparency of media ownership, access to information, promoting values and European integration.”
Training for Media Managers
Ten media managers (TV, radio and online) participated in a training course on November 19, 20 and 21. The training was held by expert Tatiana Repkova, Founder and Director of the online global network “Media Managers Club” (Paris, France). The special guest at the event was Doru Petruti, Director of IMAS. Trainees became familiar with business and marketing strategies as well as with concepts such as the performance indicators of a business and market and audience analysis among others. They also were trained how to effectively implement a business plan. The managers analyzed different organizational schemes and established the main functions of management and the role of communication at a company and mastered staff motivation techniques. They also had the opportunity to engage in some practical exercises where they tested their skills in management, persuasion and problem solving in situations that could arise at media outlets. This training program was implemented with the financial support of the US Embassy.
The traditional meetings of the Press Club that address various topical issues continued in 2015 with the participation of journalists, representatives of local and central public authorities, lawyers and media experts. At the February 19 meeting, Bill 240 amending and supplementing the Broadcasting Code was discussed. The speakers were Viorica Zaharia; journalist, Petru Macovei, Executive Director of the Independent Press Association; Ion Bunduchi, Executive Director of the Electronic Press Association Moldova and Angela Zaharova from Elita TV. The participants signed a petition requesting MPs to again address the bill as it deals with transparency of media ownership and the assurance of public access to information about media owners.
At the March 25 meeting, journalists and experts discussed the obstacles that journalists encounter during journalistic investigations in terms of personal data (Lilia Zaharia, journalist; Tatiana Puiu, lawyer; Nicolae Lungu, expert at the Legal Department of the National Center for Personal Data Protection; Ion Preasca, journalist; Lilian Chisca representative of the National Integrity Commission; Livia Turcanu, coordinator of Open Government Data at the eGovernment Center).
To celebrate the signing of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement on June 27, 2014, the IJC invited journalists and all persons concerned to a meeting of the Press Club on May 27, 2015. The invitees were Valentina Ursu, journalist at Radio Free Europe; Daniela Cujba, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova; Arcadie Barbarosie, Executive Director of the Institute for Public Policies and Anca Cioriciu (Romania), expert on European issues. The participants thought that the failure to implement important reforms, corruption and the psychological fear of the new and of change were just some of the factors that had held Moldova back from becoming closer to the EU in the true sense of the word.
The phenomenon of information manipulation, the forms it takes and methods of combating it were discussed at the meeting of the Press Club on December 2. The guests were Lina Griu, journalist; Cristina Mitu, representative of the Broadcast Coordinating Council; Ion Bunduchi, media expert; Sergiu Cornetchi, representative of the profile parliamentary commission; and Vitalie Calugareanu, freelance journalist. To counteract manipulation, the media experts recommended that media consumers develop critical thinking, use alternative sources of information including European ones with coverage as wide as possible and that the press cover cases of manipulation at the Press Council or at the media outlets concerned in compliance with the ethical norms of journalism.
The aforementioned Press Club meetings were organized as part of the project “Advocacy campaigns for ensuring transparency of media ownership, access to information, promoting values and European integration.”
Two other meetings of the Press Club organized by the IJC in partnership with the UN office in Moldova and UNICEF Moldova focused on the issues of implementing the main objectives of sustainable development set by Agenda 2030 and the role of the state, the press, civil society and the business community in this sense (on 15.10.2015) and inclusive education in Moldova between success and lessons learned (on15.09.2015).
At the May 14, 2015 meeting, the subject of domestic violence and its consequences was discussed along with the provisions of the legislative framework and the relationship between victim and aggressor. It was organized by the IJC in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family and with the financial support of UNFPA Moldova.
In 2015, the IJC launched a new networking event: the working lunch. On September 8, Dafina Gercheva, resident coordinator of the UN and Permanent Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Moldova, and Nadine Gogu, Director of the IJC, met in an informal atmosphere and discussed the Millennium Development Goals and their successors, the Sustainable Development Goals for 2016–2030. Referring to Moldova's progress on the Millennium Development Goals but also to issues that still remain unresolved, Ms. Gercheva emphasized that reforms can be achieved only if local and central authorities have the political will and urge all stakeholders—civil society, experts, the media and citizens—to participate in the process.
Another working lunch was organized on December 11 and brought together representatives of the UN and the IJC, UN gala laureates and managers and journalists from various media outlets. The main subject of discussion was the success of the UN Human Rights Gala winners and achievements in the field in 2015. In this regard, Veaceslav Balan, National Coordinator of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that in 2015 the activities of institutions whose mission is to promote and protect human rights were noted (Council on the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Ensuring Equality, the Ombudsman, several civil society organizations).
“Combating hate speech in online media and social networks”
In April, the IJC launched a project for journalists, news editors and media consumers aimed at combating hate speech in online media and in social networks in relation to the campaign “Press can’t hate!” that promoted tolerance and responsibility both in the press and among the general public. The campaign included a series of activities and actions that brought concrete results and new partnerships: monitoring and evaluating hate speech on 15 information portals; training programs for website moderators and journalists; advocacy actions for promoting the message “Press can’t hate!” and the production of two videos.
Monitoring and evaluating hate speech on 15 information portals. How hate speech directed at socially vulnerable groups and minorities appears in Moldovan online media was the subject of two reports by the IJC. They showed that during the monitoring periods (May 1–31 and October 1–31, 2015), journalists generally complied with the ethical rules on language, tone of speech and addressing vulnerable persons but that hate speech was present in comments readers posted. In this respect, the IJC promoted the idea that it is the responsibility of editors to moderate the comments posted by readers so as to promote tolerance toward all members of society. The quantitative and qualitative results, information about different types of moderating systems, conclusions and recommendations can be found here.
Training programs for website moderators and journalists. Based on the abovementioned results, the IJC held two rounds of training for representatives of the portals and for other journalists. In June, a group of 12 moderators from 11 websites had the opportunity to attend a training course in combating hate speech in online media by effectively moderating comments. They became acquainted with the ethical, professional, legal and technical aspects of moderation. Following the training, Daniela Besliu, journalist and co-founder of the portal Zugo.md, said that she had drafted regulations for readers on posting comments.
In September, another group of 14 journalists benefited from training on the correct coverage of sensitive topics. Participants from 12 editorial offices in Chisinau, Soroca, Dubasari and Gagauzia learned to properly and responsibly cover topics about minorities and socially vulnerable groups and were encouraged to write material that promotes diversity in all its forms in compliance with ethical norms.
The campaign continued with lessons about hate speech and how it can be addressed. A total of 48 students from the Faculty of Journalism from Moldova State University and the University of European Studies were familiarized with the concept of hate speech and how it manifests itself. In addition, students at the CSAJ met with Charles Haquet (the French newspaper L'Express), Iulia Badea Guéritée (newspaper Courrier International and the portal www.voxeurop.eu) and Moldovan activist Oleg Brega to discuss the impact on readers of articles and messages published on social networks. As future formers of public opinion and as ordinary media consumers they will be able to recognize and denounce press and social networking hate messages.
Tolerance messages were also transmitted through many articles signed by the Media Azi team and by other media experts. They explained in a manner accessible to both journalists and the public what hate speech implies in legal and journalistic terms, what consequences it may entail and how this phenomenon can be decreased.
The project was implemented with the financial support of Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden), a partner of the IJC.
A series of events marked by their originality was held as part of the project “Strengthening independent media in Moldova” launched in December 2014 involving journalists from the local and national press and media experts from abroad. They included Moldova Plus, European Café, training sessions in multimedia offered by international experts, grants for data journalism, the media education camp Filter information, the Online Grandma campaign and the innovation media workshop Journalism by Drones.
Moldova Plus. Five multimedia packages were launched on the following topics: the Association Agreement; agriculture; energy efficiency; cultural heritage and gender equality. They were prepared by national partners Radio Chisinau, Unimedia, the New Media Project and MeDiaLog. Moldova Plus packages are broadcast by 12 local press outlets that are project partners including in the Transnistrian region and the Gagauz Autonomy: Albasat (Nisporeni), ATV (Comrat), Bas TV (Basarabeasca), Cuvantul (Rezina), Dnestr TV (Bender), Flor TV (Floresti), Gagauz.md (Ceadir-Lunga), Gazeta de Sud (Cimislia), Impuls TV (Soldanesti), Observatorul de Nord (Soroca), Pro Media (Cimislia) and SP (Balti). At the same time, local partners developed their own materials on the topics in the context of regional specifics. From March to September 2015, the articles broadcast and prepared by local partners were viewed about 500,000 times.
European Café. In informal atmosphere, over 130 young people from Chisinau municipality, Soldanesti, Nisporeni, Cimislia and Comrat districts got together with experts in various fields and discussed topical issues such as violence against women and how to stop abuse, opportunities to study abroad, entrepreneurial opportunities for young people and media education—what is it and why we need it.
Multimedia training offered by international experts. From March 31 to April 10, two international media experts, Jack Ronald, Director of the newspaper Commercial Review in Portland, Indiana in the US, and Oleg Gant, Editor of the portal te-st.ru in Russia, held two training sessions for Moldovan journalists in Chisinau. The first was “How to create multimedia material that everyone will read” held on April 4 and 5 and was attended by the authors of the Moldova Plus multimedia packages, journalists from Radio Chisinau, Unimedia, the New Project Media and MeDiaLog (Tiraspol). They learned how to prepare high-quality multimedia content, became familiar with tools and documentation sources free for journalists and analyzed samples of popular multimedia journalism in Great Britain, Russia and Kazakhstan.
The second session was held on April 9 and 10 after documentation visits to Gazeta de Sud (Cimislia), Observatorul de Nord (Soroca), SP (Balti), Cuvantul (Rezina), Pro Media (Cimislia), ATV (Comrat) and Dnestr TV (Bender) performed by Mr. Gant and Mr. Ronald. The title was “Attracting the Moldovan public in the digital age”; it was attended by 23 journalists from the 12 media outlets that are partners of Moldova Plus. The advantages of publishing multimedia material, techniques and strategies for promoting journalistic content and ways to prepare and present journalistic material so that it is more attractive to the public were some of the topics included on the agenda of the program.
On May, 27 journalists from various media outlets in the country benefited from training as part of the program “Data journalism and access to information.” It was supported by an expert team from the Rise Project (Romania) that included Paul Radu, Daniel Bojin, Laura Ranca and Florin Badita and journalist Moldovan Dumitru Lazur. The training focused on how to access, analyze and visualize data. The participants became familiar with various tools for accessing open databases in Moldova and learned how to determine the relevance of information for the public to be included in journalistic articles with impact. The training was organized by the IJC in partnership with the eGovernment Center.
Media outlets Ziarul de Gardă, SP (Balti) and the portal diez.md received media innovation grants. With these grants the outlets can develop tools for modernizing online content such as launching online platforms (portals or blogs); casting bridge systems; becoming aggregators of information or offering interactive maps, applications for mobile phones (adapted versions of their websites or other public utility applications) and tools for using open data and for citizen journalism. Media innovation projects will be submitted in early 2016.
Another event that attracted public attention was the first hackathon of civic journalism in Moldova—the Fifth Estate—that aimed to improve the interaction between the press and the public using web and mobile applications and other innovative tools. In all, 16 project ideas and more than 60 participants were recorded at this event in July. Three projects were declared winners and received grants worth $3,000 US each to implement the ideas developed in the three-day event.
The winning projects were the following:
- Initiativa: a platform where users can present their views on bills and government decisions and will be able to propose initiatives locally and nationally.
- Official Alert: an application that allows users to receive notices whenever new content appears on the websites of official institutions like ministries, agencies, etc.
- Televisor: an application through which ordinary citizens can send and view journalistic content at the same time as the media outlet.
Data journalism grants. These grants support the modernization of online media content and the creation of innovative instruments to meet the public’s needs like applications and tools for using open data available in Moldova and internationally, the development and publication of investigative articles and infographics among others. At a public contest attended by five editorial offices, only two projects were awarded these grants:
- ATV Comrat for investigative journalism about the construction of residential blocks in Comrat town. Multi-story buildings will be inspected to identify direct and indirect links between construction companies and employees of the mayor’s office, prosecutor's office and construction inspection authority. Confirmation of these links would enable identifying violations reported by citizens and estimates of damages caused to inhabitants of the town.
- Dnestr TV for investigating “How do we stop looting the Nistru River?” Journalists on both banks intend to find out who takes advantage of Nistru River while people suffer from the deteriorating situation in the basin. The investigation will cover the following: extracting sand and gravel from the river, using water protection areas (building luxurious villas in these areas), waste disposal and cutting trees in the catchment area.
In a news writing workshop moderated by Diana Railean, journalist at Radio Free Europe, the pupils also learned how to write their own news stories relying on impartial and independent information sources. Some of the experts invited to the camp were Viorica Mesina and Viorel Mardare, directors at Atelier Sergiu Prodan; Alina Turcan, editor at Radio Free Europe; Petru Macovei and Alina Radu, Director of the newspaper Ziarul de Garda.
Get Babushka Online Online. This campaign is another component of the project “Strengthening the independence of communication media in Moldova” implemented in partnership with the organization Batranete fara tristete (Old age without sadness) in Chetrosu Commune, Anenii Noi. The campaign started on June 5, 2015 when Batranete fara tristete launched its official website www.bft.org.md. It serves as a platform for presenting and promoting activities involving the elderly. On July 11 and 12 and July 18 and 19, 2015, eight volunteers and members of the organization attended a session for trainers in which they learned how to effectively use electronic tablets and computers. Throughout 2015, trainers helped many older people discover how to communicate and to learn about important events and how to engage in social dialogue by means of electronic devices and the Internet, especially social networks. In this regard, the organization purchased five electronic tablets for use by the elderly.
Multimedia Innovation Lab “Journalism by Drones.” The IJC and Internews organized this workshop for journalists, bloggers and ICT developers on November 27 and 28. Participating teams learned about innovative ways to prepare high-quality journalistic content, technological innovations and successful journalism projects in other countries and about the use of drones for investigative journalism and TV reports. The workshop was attended by six teams composed of journalists, activists and employees of local public administrations. Each team developed one project that was completed with the assistance of several experts and mentors: Victor Pogor, reporter at Radio Chisinau; Angela Ivanesi, media designer; Andrei Bivol, lawyer; Dumitru Ciorici, Editorial Director Interakt Media LLC; Laurentiu Balaceanu, skycam.ro and Maksym Savchuk and Kyrylo Lazarevich, Radio Svoboda, Kiev. “(Un)protected Areas,” a project of the Environmental Journalists Association, was declared the winner and was awarded a drone provided by the organizers of the event. The authors of the other five will use a second drone on a rotational basis for implementing their projects. In March 2016, the projects will be evaluated by a jury and the drone will be awarded as a prize to authors of the best one.
The project “Strengthening independent media in Moldova” is being implemented by the IJC in collaboration with Internews from December 2014 to July 2016, with the financial support of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the US State Department.
In 2015, the IJC continued the initiative of promoting media education among young people, expanding its activities to a larger number of beneficiaries through the project “Freedom of expression and media development in the Eastern Europe and South-East South Caucasus” implemented with the support of Deutsche Welle Akademie and funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany.
The project started with an expert meeting held in June that was attended by 22 university lecturers, teachers, specialists in educational sciences and media education experts from Ukraine and Georgia. Participants discussed the importance of introducing media education into the education system. Experts called for the introduction of this course in the primary education curriculum when the teacher can substantially contribute to preparing pupils to be informed by multiple sources, to distinguish manipulative material and to critically analyze press articles. The importance of media education for pupils and students was also emphasized by the fact that it encourages good citizenship and a sense of identity and develops not only responsible consumers but also independent personalities who can make their own decisions appropriately and conscientiously.
Based on the recommendations submitted by experts, the IJC developed a proposal to integrate media education in school and university curricula and submitted it to the Ministry of Education. The initiative was supported by Corina Fusu, the acting Minister of Education, who said at the Media Forum in October 2015 that she would propose the inclusion of a few hours of media education in civic education courses.
On August 21 and 22, a group of 18 Moldovan university lecturers and students from faculties of journalism and related specialties participated in a training course in media education organized by the IJC. They enhanced their knowledge about the media (news and manipulation) and were introduced to the concept of delivering dynamic and interesting information to the public. The IJC selected four moderators from among the trainees: Oleg Danilceac, Prorector of the State University of Cahul; Elena Cobilean, lecturer at Slavonic University; Petru Cosoi, reporter at realitatea.md and Liubomir Gutu, student of journalism at public university Al. Russo in Balti. They prepared media education lessons that they delivered with the IJC team in 10 gymnasiums and high schools in the country: Balti municipality, Corlateni Village (Rascani), Cahul Town, Rosu Village (Cahul), Rusestii Noi Village and Costesti Village (Ialoveni), Vasieni Village and Cra snaseni Village (Telenesti), Chisinau municipality and Misovca Village (Ialoveni). The 278 students participating in the media education lessons became acquainted for the first time with news structure, how to choose the right sources of information, how to identify credible sources and what manipulation tools are used by the media.
“I think this lesson is fruitful because I learned that in a story all stakeholders should be present with their pros and cons. I think I will be able to distinguish henceforth true news items from false ones because today I realized that not all the information that we are offered on a plate by the media is worth reading,” Ecaterina Dolinschi, student of the College of Medicine in Cahul, stated.
Media experts Ion Bunduchi, Viorica Zaharia and Ion Terguta held media education lessons for 148 students at 6 universities in Chisinau (AESM, SPU Ion Creanga, SUM, UPEES, CCUM and Slavonic University) in which they discussed the current situation in the media and revealed numerous violations by journalists of the professional rules of news writing: News items are either based on a single source or use descriptive language that betrays the attitude of authors about the subject and whether or not they are presenting reality through the prism of political sympathies. Students showed an interest in these subjects and were actively involved in debates expressing their opinions about what they read in the media and how they perceive the phenomenon of manipulation.
“Even if earlier I thought I could distinguish manipulative material from objective material, I have now learned the key elements that news items should contain to properly inform. We are in an all-out information war, and this is why such activities are absolutely necessary to educate society,” Cristina Flea, a student at Moldova State University, said.
To promote online media education and to reach a larger number of beneficiaries, several media experts prepared and published a series of analyses on the website media-azi.md that help media consumers to better understand journalistic products and to distinguish articles based on facts from manipulative ones that lie or tell the truth only partially. The materials published by experts addressed various problems commonly found in our press such as manipulation, censorship, conflicts with ethics and deontology and the formulation of headings among others.
Final event. On December 4, the IJC team met with beneficiaries, experts, trainers and representatives of DW Akademie to identify project results and to discuss possible activities to continue to promote media education. Participants thought that young people need media education and that this was why this initiative deserved to be continued and diversified to reach a greater number of citizens so that the phenomenon of manipulation so present in our press can be addressed by media consumers.
In 2015, the portal Media Azi covered the situation of the media and the main events in the news and offered comments and interviews in three sections: IJC, In Moldova and In the World. Media Azi addressed topical issues in the news including sessions of the IJC Press Club, issues discussed in the Parliamentary Commission for Media, the BCC, the Observers Council, laws adopted by Parliament on the media, roundtables on specific topics related to the media, the launch of studies and reports developed by the IJC and training. Media Azi also actively supported the campaign “We want access to Parliament!” offering the stage to scores of journalists to make a statement and to sensitize MPs on the issue of access to plenary sessions. The portal also participated in promoting media education among media consumers in the campaign “The press does not hate!” and comprehensively presented the most important events of the year: Press Freedom Days, the Press Club gala and the first media forum in the country.
These and other topics were analyzed in depth in interviews and comments. The topics of interviews were diverse depending on the concerns of the persons interviewed. The most viewed interviews in 2015 were “The transmission of personal data interferes with private life,” conducted by Sergiu Bozianu, Deputy Chief of the Record and Control Directorate, at 1540 views. Other interviews published by Media Azi in 2015 were “Nu poți trece peste anumite drepturi și libertăți pentru a obține audiență cu orice preț” (You cannot ignore certain rights and freedoms to gain an audience at any cost), conducted by journalist Cristina Liberis from Romania and “Atâta timp cât politicul din Republica Moldova este neliber, nu vom avea o presă liberă” (As long as politics in Moldova are not free, we will not have a free press) with Rodica Mahu Editor-in-Chief of Jurnal de Chisinau.
As part of the project “Advocacy campaigns for ensuring the transparency of media ownership, access to information and promoting values and European integration,” the IJC had the opportunity to offer the grandstand to dozens of experts and opinion leaders to analyze the situation of the local media in the weekly section “Comments.” The second part of the project began in November 2015 and will continue in 2016 as well. Comments can be offered twice a month; the topics addressed are propaganda and manipulation in the media.
As of the end of October 2015, a total of 40 comments about the implementation of European standards in the national media and 4 comments about propaganda and manipulation appeared on Media Azi. The material covered a wide range of topics. One of the comments was on the need to adopt the Law on Media Ownership Transparency. Readers learned how such laws work in the European countries where media outlets are obliged to provide information about their owners to public authorities and where sanctions for breaching such obligations may be fines, imprisonment or the revocation of the broadcasting license. In Moldova, the Law on Media Ownership Transparency was adopted and entered into force on November 1, 2015. Comments on media legislation analyzed aspects of the Law on Protection of Personal Data, often interpreted to the detriment of the public interest; the protection of sources of information and situations in which the law can compel a journalist to reveal an anonymous source; the Law on Access to Information and the need to optimize the legal framework.
The authors of comments drew attention to the need to take urgent measures to secure information space. They were related to the problems faced by the national broadcasting institutions; the difficulties in the transition to digital television; the lack of access of journalists to plenary sessions of Parliament; the credibility of this profession in a period when press representatives are divided based on political, ideological, geopolitical and linguistic criteria and the lack of guild solidarity. Other comments were about local press management, problems of investigative journalism, censorship on the Internet, the print media crisis, problems faced by news agencies, journalistic education and press language.
In 2015 the magazine Mass Media in Moldova was published in June and December by the Department of Media Azi and Research. The magazine can be found on the portal Media Azi in the section “Publications.” The monthly bulletin “Moldova Media News,” a summary of the most important items, can also be accessed there in English.
As for research, the IJC launched the study “Measuring the perception of social-political news of media consumers in Moldova.” In this study, experts Tamara Caraus (Moldova) and Ivan Godarsky (Slovakia) analyzed the favorite media sources of Moldovan citizens, their perceptions of the level of information and manipulation as well as preferences for local media versus foreign media. The study was conducted based on a national survey and focus group sessions performed by the Institute for Marketing and Polls IMAS INC Chisinau. The research was performed with financial support from the US Embassy.
Media monitoring in the campaign for local elections 2015
The purpose was to contribute to conducting free and fair elections by monitoring the behavior of the main media outlets during the election campaign and encouraging them to comply with professional and ethical standards, including those ensuring gender equality. The monitoring period was from May 4 to June 14, 2015; five TV stations and five information portals were monitored:
- Moldova 1 (“Mesager” at 21:00) public channel, national coverage, broadcasts in Romanian and Russian;
- Prime TV (“Primele Știri” at 21:00) private channel, national coverage, broadcasts in Romanian and Russian;
- Canal 2 (“Reporter” at 19:00) private channel, national coverage, broadcasts in Romanian;
- TV 7 (“Știri” at 20:30) private channel, regional coverage, broadcasts in Romanian and Russian;
- Accent TV (“Accent info” at 20:00) private channel, broadcasts in Romanian and Russian.
- www.unimedia.info (portal, Romanian);
- www.omg.md (portal, Russian);
- www.publika.md (portal, Romanian);
- www.pan.md (online version of the publication Panorama, Russian);
- www.timpul.md (online version of the national newspaper Timpul de dimineață, Romanian).
Two experts were responsible for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data and for drafting reports. A third expert wrote 6 case studies on flagrant violations of professional and ethical principles detected following the monitoring detailing weaknesses and proposing solutions for media representatives. Four reports were prepared based on the monitoring results—three interim and one final. Reports and studies were presented at several public events attended by 43 journalists.
All press releases accompanied by the reports were sent to the database of the IJC which includes more than 500 addresses (journalists from national and local press outlets, contacts at diplomatic missions, etc.). The monitoring reports were also sent to the BCC accompanied by letters in which the IJC asked the BCC to check how the media outlets monitored complied with the Broadcasting Code and electoral legislation and to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance with the law.
By monitoring the behavior of the media during the elections, the IJC aimed to promote professional standards in the press and to encourage media representatives to report on the election in a fair and objective way. The IJC found that some radio broadcasters took into account the recommendations in the monitoring reports and modified their editorial policies by abandoning the aggressive promotional practices of certain electoral competitors. Some broadcasters also improved their indicators in terms of ensuring gender equality (conclusions in the third report). The reports prepared by the IJC served as alternative objective sources for the BCC which sanctioned certain broadcasters that failed to cover the election campaign in a professional manner. All reports are available on the IJC website in the section “Publications” under Monitoring.
The monitoring reports were prepared as part of the project “Media monitoring in the election campaign” implemented by the IJC with the support of the East Europe Foundation from resources provided by the Swedish government through the Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Sida) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the East Europe Foundation, Sida or DANIDA.
Media Law and Policy
The Department of Media Law and Policy (DMLP) continued to implement the two projects “Improving the Media Law Environment in Moldova” supported by Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden) and the Media Legal Defence Initiative in the UK.
It also contributed to the implementation of the project “Advocacy campaigns for ensuring transparency of media ownership, access to information and promoting values and European integration” which is part of the project “Partnerships for Sustainable Civil Society in Moldova” implemented by FHI 360.
Analysis of media legislation and drafting proposals for improvement
On March 20, 2015, DMLP launched its annual report on the media situation in Moldova in 2014. The report is composed of five chapters and addresses the following topics:
- developments and trends in the Moldovan press in 2014, reporting on major political events, and developments of the media market;
- public broadcasting and the work of the BCC and public companies Teleradio-Moldova and Teleradio-Gagauzia;
- freedom of expression and defamation in 2014 and legislative developments in the field, cases of aggression against journalists and trials with the involvement of media outlets;
- the situation of the media in Transnistria;
- conclusions for 2014 and forecasts for 2015 made by journalists and civil society representatives.
Training in legal issues and access to information
A group of 17 journalists from national and local press outlets attended a training course on July 3 and 4 organized by the IJC on enforcing legislation on defamation and access to information. Trainees also discussed the legal aspects that should guide professional journalists in their work as well as practical ways to obtain public information. Trainees learned how to write formal requests, how to distinguish facts from value judgments and how to express themselves within the law to avoid accusations of defamation.
The DMLP developed and distributed six legislative bulletins containing summaries of laws and amendments to current laws and information about recent jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights on access to information and freedom of expression. The purpose of this legal bulletin is to inform journalists, media outlets, lawyers and other stakeholders of developments in the field. This e-bulletin is distributed in electronic form to over 180 subscribers in Romanian and Russian.
The DMLP has offered legal consultations to journalists and media outlets in Moldova free of charge for 15 years. Applicants benefit from professional legal assistance, copies of laws in force and information about other sources of assistance. Consultations are available in media legislation; the rights and obligations of journalists especially the protection of honor, dignity and professional reputation; the right to freedom of expression and access to information; the right to privacy; the legal status of media outlets and advertising and copyright. Consultations are provided by phone, in person or by e-mail. In 2015, the IJC offered legal consultations and assistance in 16 cases and distributed 16 statements on cases of violations of journalists' rights.
The DMLP organized several public events in which media experts and lawyers addressed issues of the media and access to information. One of them was the launch of the practical guide for journalists and civil servants Access to Information without Barricades. The guide was developed by IJC experts and provides analyses and recommendations for improving the legal framework on access to information and practical advice on how journalists and communicators can work together more effectively.
The authors of the guide, Sorina Stefarta and Irina Perciun, offer several recommendations and advice from journalists to communicators and vice versa. Journalists discover how to properly request official information, who are providers, what to do when there is a charge for information and how to proceed if a public official says “no.” In turn, communicators find useful information on how to provide active, accurate and timely information to journalists; when they are entitled to restrict access to information; how to better manage official websites and how to avoid and manage crises.
The launch organized by the IJC on November 17 was attended by journalists, civil servants from various government agencies and civil society representatives. The participants appreciated the publication of this guide and stressed the idea that both journalists and civil servants are in the service of citizens and that access to information is a fundamental right that cannot be restricted.
On 25 November, the IJC publicly launched a study on the work of the Observers Council of Teleradio-Moldova. The event was attended by journalists, media experts, BCC members, MPs and civil society representatives. The authors of the study, media researcher Victor Gotisan and expert in media legislation Tatiana Puiu, highlighted the major organizational and legislative gaps that they found in the OC activity in the recent years and proposed concrete recommendations to address them.
Advocacy and Production
For order and transparency in the press campaign
In 2015, the IJC continued to make efforts to improve the legal framework on transparency in media ownership and produced a video clip in support of the campaign with the message that every citizen is entitled to know who owns media outlets so as to be able to choose information consciously and to avoid being manipulated by anonymous patrons who use the press in their own interests.
“We want access to Parliament!”
Every week in 2015 from February to May on days when MPs sat in plenary sessions, the IJC team installed an improvised “enclosure” in front of the Parliament building. In this way, the IJC wanted to remind MPs that restricting journalists' access to Parliament is a serious problem not only for the press but for the whole of society and that through such actions the right of citizens to information on matters of public interest is violated. In support of the campaign, the IJC produced a video clip in which several journalists demanded respect for their right to do their jobs effectively.
During Press Freedom Days from 4 to 8 May, the IJC collected 123 signatures for a second petition on the issue of journalists' access to the Parliamentary meeting room that was later sent to relevant authorities. Both in 2013 and 2014 along with other media outlets, the IJC undertook several actions (flash-mobs, round tables, debate clubs) to call for MPs to create better conditions for journalists accredited to Parliament.
“A better law for journalists, a more informed citizen”
In September, the IJC launched this campaign to improve the legal framework on access to information and organized a series of events about the role of the media in providing accurate information to citizens and the need for new legal provisions to facilitate the access of the press to information. In a public debate held on 9 September, a set of proposals for amendments to Law 982-XIV of May 11, 2000 on access to information (Articles 15 and 16) and the Contravention Code of the Republic of Moldova 218-XVI of October 24, 2008 (Art. 71) was publicly debated. The bill submitted to Parliament, the President and the government and recorded as a legislative initiative aimed to improve the record for requests for access to information, to reduce the time for providing information and to tighten punishments for violating the legislation on access to information by persons responsible for providing it. Media experts, journalists, MPs and lawyers attending the event discussed the proposed amendments and came up with several recommendations. Subsequently, the IJC organized a press club session on the same topic in which several journalists, media experts and civil society representatives advocated adjusting the Law on Access to Information to the current requirements.
Information campaign on the European Union
Between March and June, the IJC prepared a series of programs for the general public addressing various aspects of the European integration of Moldova. Through these video products, the IJC aimed to familiarize TV viewers with European standards of working and living and to reveal experiences of EU states that could be taken up and implemented in Moldova. At the same time, useful information that would help citizens to better understand integration into the EU was also offered. The 12 programs addressed the main problems that Moldova has to solve on its European path.
Invitees to the programs discussed the causes of delaying reforms in Moldova, especially in the field of justice. Among other issues, solutions for combating corruption and ways to change the mind sets of citizens so they will not accept discrimination were elucidated. They also discussed the health and education systems, which direction they should target and what reforms are a priority. The series can be viewed on the IJC on Youtube and on the IJC website.
The above campaigns and programs were implemented as part of the project “Advocacy campaigns for ensuring transparency of media ownership, access to information, promoting values and European integration” implemented by the IJC. Their implementation was possible due to the generous support of the American people through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed are those of the IJC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the US government.
“The press does not hate!”
To make the message more convincing and attractive, the IJC presented two videos to the journalism community and the general public: “Informăm fără discriminare” (We inform without discrimination) and “Să nu ne creadă proști!” (Do not consider us stupid). They aimed to raise the awareness of the media about the importance of professional media coverage of sensitive subjects and to encourage readers not to tolerate messages of hate in the press. The videos were broadcast on local and national TV channels and distributed by nine information portals. The campaign was supported by Civil Rights Defenders of Sweden.
Press Freedom Days
Along with other media outlets on May 4, 2015 the IJC launched the 2015 edition of Press Freedom Days at a press conference. Following tradition, the IJC publicized the “Memo on press freedom in Moldova from May 2014 to May 2015.” This year’s edition was marked by unusual events.
The IJC along with other media NGOs initiated a campaign with the slogan “Press and citizens demand: Stop corruption!” Journalists were urged to band together to actively engage in fighting corruption which “affects the lives of citizens in all spheres: economic, social, cultural, education, justice.” Given that any media outlet can promote public interest and write for citizens, media NGOs recommended that outlets place and promote this slogan in newspapers and magazines, newscasts or thematic programs at radio stations and television channels, on websites and news portals during Press Freedom Days.
On May 7, the IJC launched the Panel of Shame: Enemies of the Press. The event was held in front of the Parliament building as a protest against attempts to limit the freedom of expression by MPs who restricted the work of journalists in Moldova from May 3, 2014 to May 3, 2015. Spots on the Panel of Shame were occupied by the people listed as Enemies of the Press on the IJC portal Media Azi. Organizers wished to draw the attention of the government to the fact that a free press works on the basis of European standards and values that they also should observe.
Annual Gala of the Press Club
On 17 December, the Chisinau Press Club, the IJC and the Press Freedom Committee named the journalists of the year 2015 at the XXIst edition of the annual gala of the Press Club.
Natalia Morari: Interview, Interpol program, TV 7
Jagland Thorbjorn: coverage of political topics, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Inna Kivirjik: coverage of economic topics, newsmaker.md
RISE Project Moldova: best journalistic investigation “PlahotniukLeaks”
Vitalie Hadei: coverage of sports topics, Ziarul National
TV Project “Pur si Simplu”: coverage of cultural topics
Natalia Petrusevici: coverage of social topics, SP, Balti
Lilia Curchi: coverage of environmental topics, journal Natura
Andrei Mardari: photo journalism.
Three special prizes were awarded as well:
Brightest hope 2015 - Livia Goncear-Pinzari: Radio Moldova
The best social campaign “Give and Win!”: PRO TV
Promotion of diversity in the media: Ecaterina Terzi reporter at Teleradio-Moldova in Gagauz Autonomy.
Candidates submitted original material prepared and published between January and October 2015 that was evaluated by members of a jury and members of the Senate of the IJC. Also, members of the Senate and the Assembly of Founders of the IJC made additional nominations to complete the list of candidates for the categories with the fewest contestants.
The main purpose of these awards, which are part of the objective to contribute by all means to strengthening professional journalism, is to support and encourage the efforts of journalists to report the news by adhering to the highest international professional standards. The gala was held with the financial support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission to Moldova.
IJC has a resource center that consists of a library and a database available to journalists and media organizations.
In 2014, the IJC provided journalists and journalism students access to 4,000 book titles in Romanian, English, French, Russian, and German that covered, inter alia, the following domains: print press, radio, TV, management, public relations, media law, and dictionaries. Monthly, the library was visited by journalists, lecturers and journalism students.
Apart from that, the library provided access to those interested in reports, studies, assessments, laws, and other documents concerning the media in Moldova and abroad. As well, IJC donated books on various events carried out in 2014. The resource center subscribes to the main periodicals (newspapers and magazines) in Moldova (over 50) in both Romanian and Russian.
Priorities for 2016
In 2015, IJC will continue:
To carry out:
- various training activities for media, conferences, media research, Press Clubs, debates, consultancy programs, etc.;
- media literacy activities for media consumers, aimed at promoting critical thinking and spirit;
- advocacy campaigns;
- Post-university program at the Chisinau School of Advanced Journalism;
- Press Freedom Days Campaign;
- Journalists of the Year Prize Award Gala;
- Mass Media in Moldova Journal (in Romanian, Russian and English);
- Media law bulletin (in Romanian and Russian);
- Annual report on freedom of expression in Moldova (in Romanian, Russian and English);
- Journalism integrity through news items, interviews, analytical reports posted on the multi functional portal Media Azi;
- Legislation and developments in the legislation on freedom of expression and information and participation in drafting proposals for improving existing legislation;
- Violations of freedom of expression and information.
- Social spots, human histories, video reports, documentaris on various topical issues;
- Free access to Resource Center;
- Free legal assistance (including court representation) in issues related to media law, freedom of expression and journalists rights.
As from February 2000, IJC is member of the South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media – (SEENPM), and as from June 2001 – member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).
IJC is the only organization from Moldova involved in the South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media – (SEENPM), which brings together 17 centers and media organizations from 11 countries. Established in February 2000, this network offers trainings for journalists and media trainers. In 2002–2004, IJC was member of the Coordinating Board of SEENPM.
In June 2001, IJC became member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), an international network that brings together over 80 organizations that have as their main goal to monitor the situation on freedom of expression. The most well-known product of the network is the electronic bulletin Action Alert, that is based on the notifications of violations of freedom of expression in the regions represented by the member organizations. The bulletin is disseminated to a significant number of institutions and interested groups throughout the world. IJC is member of the IFEX Board from 2013 to 2015.
Founders Assembly and Senate
Alexandru Canţîr, IMEDIA
Ludmila Andronic, Press Council
Petru Macovei, Independent Press Association
Daniela Terzi-Barbăroşie, media expert
Vladimir Soloviev, Newsmaker.md
|Ina Grejdeanu||Strategic Development Officeremail@example.com|
|Cristina Bobârcă||Head of the Training and Communication Departmentfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Adriana Solovei/Rodica Catareu||Program Coordinator of the Training and Communication Departmentemail@example.com|
|Liliana Croitor||Assistant Coordinator of the Training and Communication Departmentfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Olga Țiganescu||Program Coordinator of the Legal Departamentemail@example.com|
|Zinaida Gheaţă||Assistant of the Legal Departmentfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Victoria Gorincioi||reporter for email@example.com|
|Tatiana Corai||Editor of the portal firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Veronica Marin/Ludmila Bogheanu||Coordinator for the School of Advanced Journalismemail@example.com|
|Sorina Ștefârță||Director of the School of Advanced Journalism||Sorina.firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Denis Rusu||cameraman/image email@example.com|
|Angela Maximenco||Chief Accountantfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Marcel Mărgineanu/Profor Ion||Technical Resource Centeremail@example.com|
|Cristina Zavatin||Program Coordinatorfirstname.lastname@example.org|