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The BC fined the TV8 station 7 thousand lei for lack of impartiality and balance of opinions in a talk show

26 October 2020
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The Broadcasting Council (BC) fined the TV8 television station 7,000 lei because, during an edition of the talk show Politica Nataliei Morari, the impartiality and balance of opinions were not ensured, and the host intervened with her own point of view. The fine was applied at the October 26 meeting of the BC, after the BC was notified by the Center for the Protection of Journalists’ Rights. TV8 representatives claim that they did not violate the law.
The notification regarding the October 6 edition of the talk show on TV8 was submitted to the BC by the public association Center for the Protection of Journalists’ Rights of the Republic of Moldova. According to the petitioner, one of the guests of the talk show, the lawyer Stefan Gligor, stated hypotheses regarding the possible fraud of the November 1 presidential elections. The organization’s representative Daria Zimbelskaia believes that Gligor’s statement “is not an expert political analysis, but a direct accusation that falls under the competence of criminal investigation bodies.” She asked the BC not to admit situations that “violate the rights and obligations of electoral candidates, of the Central Electoral Commission, of journalists.”
TV8 representatives said that the television station “ensured the balance of opinions throughout the show, did not limit the right to expression in the audiovisual program mentioned in the complaint, and did not violate the legislation in force.” The station’s administration claims that the issue of possible election fraud was commented by all the experts on the set, and “the host of the show intervened only to give the right to reply or to ensure the balance of the discussion.” According to TV8, the guest of the show only expressed his opinion, and, if necessary, the show “is open to offer the right to reply to the subjects who feel targeted.” The station’s representatives also invoked the provisions of freedom of expression in this case.
The BC member Lidia Viziru proposed sanctioning the television station with 7,000 lei because, previously, the BC had applied a similar fine to another television station for similar violations. Her colleague, Ala Ursu-Antoci, referred to the behavior of hosts during programs. “I would ask media service providers and program authors not to play judges in studios. Judges are in court, and hosts just have to be impartial and fair,” said Ala Ursu-Antoci. “The tone in this show was condemnatory, accusatorial in some places. I had the impression that verdicts have already been given,” agreed the BC Chairman Dragos Vicol.
Seven out of nine members voted for the sanction. BC members Corneliu Mihalache and Larisa Manole opposed it, invoking the right to freedom of expression. “I do not agree that this show failed to respect balance and impartiality. There were three experts with completely different visions in the show,” Larisa Manole argued.
Foto: TV8