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Who Said BCC Was Politically Committed?!

19 October 2016
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(On certain ‘iron-clad points’ used by BCC to reject a report filed by one of their employees)

Ion BUNDUCHI, media expert

Regrets in lieu of preamble

At its meeting held on October 17 the Broadcasting Coordination Council of Moldova, whether consciously or evil-mindedly – we do not know yet, made an earthshaking discovery in keeping with the best European practices, which was undeservedly overlooked by regional, national and international press. What a shame, because our export to Europe could extend from grapes and tomatoes to include local know-how. Those unwilling to read 4-5 thousand characters can go to https://www.privesc.eu/arhiva/69497/Sedinta-Consiliului-Coordonator-al-Audiovizualului-din-17-octombrie-2016 (from 1.09.03 till 1.18.25).

… A member of BCC reported to the Council on possible breach of regulations during a program aired by Prime TV on September 11 this year which featured a candidate to presidency. The program was reviewed and during the said meeting BCC announced its findings: the TV program in question was incompliant with clause 32 of CEC Regulation that states: ‘Prime time granted shall be broadcasted not earlier than 30 days before the day of elections to the position of President of Moldova’.

An active member of BCC said, literally: ‘I don’t think it only referred to Prime TV. So, I believe the report covers a phenomenon witnessed during pre-elections, as, indeed – if I may deviate a bit from our topic – it seems discrimination to me that a person who signs up among the first has to wait for the campaign to start without producing any events. From this point of view, we must be as impartial as possible, because it is, indeed, discriminatory for the person. Someone could intentionally sign up closer to the end of the sign-up period, so they can obtain immediate benefit and their own status provides them with greater freedom...”.

Did anyone understand anything here? I didn’t. I guess I’ll have to listen once again...
 
Questions by the yard:

  • Which part of any law empowers BCC members to advocate for candidates in elections?
  • Which legal provision allows BCC to ignore the law when it believes the law disadvantages a candidate?
  • Which law allows BCC to simply attest a phenomenon during elections?
  • Which law states that BCC, whenever it believes that a candidate who signed up before others is discriminated, can cancel the provisions of CEC Regulation?
  • What on earth did they mean by ‘we must be as impartial as possible, because it is, indeed, discriminatory for the person’?
  • Since when does BCC make laws instead of the Parliament?
  • Who developed the election coverage concept based on which CEC adopted its Regulation?
  • Why did not BCC get involved with CEC’s draft Regulation to make it less discriminating towards certain candidates, since it had solved all broadcasting problems and has nothing else to do than care for competitors in elections?
  • Why is the discussion about ‘discriminated’ candidates, rather than broadcasters?
  • Should there be a single law for all candidates and all broadcasters?
  • Why is the saying ‘Dura lex, sed lex’ just some empty words?

And more why’s…...

… The author of the report attempted at reminding the honored members of BCC that the true problem was not in the disadvantaged candidate but in the broadcaster’s behavior.

The same BCC member, however, has prepared heavy artillery: “What I have seen with a naked eye and, probably, you have witnessed as well... I’m not saying it happened to everybody, but the things I have seen I can support with a number of specific examples: ‘Interpol’ on TV7, run on September 29 and rerun the following day, guests: Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase; September 29, TV 7, ‘Lunch with President”, guest – Maia Sandu; September 29, NTV Moldova, Direct Accent, guest – Igor Dodon; and, finally, so that I am not accused of choosing certain channels – September 29, ‘Fourth Estate, guest – Iurie Leanca. It was the same situation we are discussing here”.
  
Opinions are good when they are concluded with a proposal. And here comes the proposal: “I generally suggest we sum up by taking note of this report and see what we can do in future, because the situation goes far beyond the example contained in the report. It is, therefore, a much broader situation, and perhaps we should pay attention or adopt an unbiased and objective attitude towards the phenomenon as a whole. So, I think we should limit ourselves to taking note of this report...”

Ironclad Logic

If it were a single case it would need to be penalized, but a real phenomenon – the one of collective disregard for the law – demands serious punishment… through taking note.
 
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The article was published within the Advocacy Campaigns Aimed at Improving Transparency of Media Ownership, Access to Information and promotion of EU values  and integration project, implemented by the IJC, which is, in its turn, part of the Moldova Partnerships for Sustainable Civil Society project, implemented by FHI 360.

This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content are the responsibility of author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.