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Filat’ s Case Commented in The ”Anti-Filat” Press

Tatiana CORAI, ”Media Azi” editor

On Thursday, October 15, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, unanimously voted to lift the immunity of former prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM) Parliamentary fraction, Vlad Filat, based upon a motion by the Prosecutor General. The LDPM MP has later been detained by NAC agents for 72 hours.

On Sunday, after the regular detention period expired and following a hearing that lasted for more than 6 hours, the court ruled that the former prime minister would be detained for 30 days.

How much professionalism did the press apply in this case? We refer here to the press in general and also to the press with an "anti - Filat” reputation.

Even if it was not for the first time in the Republic of Moldova that an MP is stripped of his immunity and deferred to justice, in Filat’ s case the press had a prompt reaction to everything that was happening, expressly broadcasting news of each new step. However, a great part of the media has treated this case subjectively, ignoring the presumption of innocence principle, exceeding its professional attributions, often exaggerating and interpreting facts by their own accord.

Infringement of the presumption of innocence

According to the Constitution "any person charged of committing an offense shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty…” (Article 21). The journalists are called, by the principles set forth in the “Deontology Code of Journalists from the Republic of Moldova”, to observe the presumption of innocence and take into consideration that “any person shall be presumed innocent until a final and irrevocable sentence against them has been passed”.
However, the journalists from various media institutions and not only from those considered to be ab-initio "anti-Filat”, have spread to the public space the idea that they already know what evidence was found following the searches and that Vlad Filat may be sentenced to a custodial sentence of 15 years, without making any reference at least to the articles of the Criminal Code if not to reliable judicial sources.
A text, with the "ILAN SHOR: „Filat is blackmailing me since 2010” headline, posted at on October 16, offers truthfulness to Ilan Shor’s denouncement which it presents like an authentic fact that took place in reality. (|-%E2%80%9EFilat-m%C4%83-%C8%99antajeaz%C4%83-din-2010%E2%80%9D.htm).
A “news story”, posted at, on October 16, with the presumably sensational headline: "The relationship between Filat, Topa and the DA platform. What happened during the searches carried out in Filat’ s house" tries to piece together a number of presumptions, based exclusively on rumors in a half-page text. We will publish this entirely:
"The presence of one of the lawyers that assisted the searches carried out in the house of liberal-democrat Vlad Filat, raises some questions that may put an end to the relationship between Filat, Topa and DA platform, states
From the LIVE broadcast by Today.MD, blogger Eugen Luchianiuc observed that the lawyer came to the house located in the Telecentru area on a car with German license plates. According to Luchianiuc, the lawyer’ s car is registered in the same, relatively small German region of Bad Homburg, where Andrei Nastase, godson and lawyer of Victor Topa, lives.
This coincidence is not peculiar at all, especially since there was previous news about the strong relationship between Vlad Filat, Victor Topa and the DA platform. Vlad Filat did not deny these relationships, on the contrary, he stated that he is proud of them.
As a reminder, the press previously published some photos regarding the meeting between Victor Topa and Vlad Filat in Frankfurt on April 1st, 2015, where the two set up the plan to seize power via the DA platform but also the deal with Jurnal TV”. (
Therefore, from the lawyer’s car registration marks which somebody saw while the lawyer was assisting the searches in Filat’ s house they arrived at the… plan to takeover power through the DA platform! It is suggested to the reader that behind these maneuvers to "seize power” there could only be Vlad Filat.
Presenting incomplete information

The first thing that draws the attention of informed readers- and here I refer to those who watched the Parliament reunion on on October 15, 2015 is that the press, with small exceptions, almost ignored the speech of MP Filat in the plenary session of the Parliament. Consciously, unconsciously? Or, maybe the journalists did no longer consider the statements made by an MP whose immunity has been stripped to be important?

Instead of the speech in the Parliament, Publika TV, for instance, has broadcasted news that includes a video, "Filat’ s harsh reaction after the Prosecutor General required to for his immunity to be lifted (VIDEO)”
(, however not from the Parliament. At the end, the journalists have written “In conclusion, Vlad Filat apologized to the citizens of the Republic of Moldova: "I already have my own way, I will do justice to myself, but you, the citizens of this country, you still have the choice”. You have to fight for you freedom, dignity and should not allow for yourself to be manipulated by this media show which aims to change the facts. I am sorry that I did not manage to do more. Thank you”. Taken out of context, the phrase "In conclusion, Vlad Filat apologized to Moldova’ s citizens” acquires a completely different sense than the initial one. The phrase from Publika TV rather alludes to the confession to a crime. It also causes confusion, because in his speech held in the Parliament, Filat also apologized: "First of all, I apologize to my parents, my family and Moldova’ s citizens for being an accessory during all this time”, taking into consideration the complicity with DPM and Vlad Plahotniuc, whose name he pronounced several times during the speech.

Coordination as a means to manipulate

The phenomenon that we observe in Moldova’ s media, is very interesting- several media institutions launch the same news at the same time. These institutions accept therefore to act like media clones, and join forces when the holding’s publishing policy probably requires it. And, concerning the topic of the current article, we can meet the same news, one hundred percent identical, published by, Prime TV, Canal, including several online portals. Launched at several minutes from each another, these news seem to be written from a single center—by the same hand?! –and are later broadcasted to the wide audience. In hope that everything that is repeated endlessly, is better remembered. Is that a new method to do journalism in Chisinau?

Questions without answers

So, can the journalists in the Republic of Moldova manifest objectivity, correctness and impartiality when reporting about corruption cases, as long as they have commitments not only toward the citizens, towards the profession, but also towards their employers? And just how much confidence shall the press consumers have in those who bring home the information?

These questions remain without answers, in the context of how Moldova’ s media institutions work today. Our press is in the most part led by bosses that the public can only suspect, without knowing their names. Unfortunately, many of them will remain unknown even after the law on transparency of media properties will enter into force on November 1st, because the law will not force them to leave the cloak of off-shore anonymity. And these people are often influential politicians, with strong interests in politics, economy and finance.

This material is published within the project "Freedom of expression and media development in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and South Caucasus", implemented by CIJ during the period May-September 2015, supported by Deutsche Welle Akademie and financed by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The opinions expressed in this material belong to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the financer’s opinion.