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Dragos Vicol: The BC Wants to Cancel the Right of Foreigners to Hold the Control Stock of TV and Radio Stations From Moldova

10 January 2020
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The Broadcasting Council (BC) claims that it will request amendments to the legislation so that foreign citizens cannot own the control stock in the ownership structure of Moldovan radio and TV stations. The statement was made by the BC Chair, Dragos Vicol, after learning about the fact that the Russian millionaire Igor Chaika, the son of the former Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, became co-owner of the company that controls the TV stations Primul in Moldova and Accent TV.

Vicol told Media Azi that the members of the BC would come up with a set of proposals to the Committee for culture, education, research, youth, sport and mass-media requesting the amendment of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services. The institution proposes to not allow foreigners to hold more than 50% of the shares.

"We will come up with certain proposals on prohibiting foreign citizens to hold the control stock on radio and TV stations. As regards foreign shareholders, we don’t want to prevent the access of shareholders who come from countries that ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, especially those from the EU. We need to find a way to avoid discriminating the participation of any party, but we would like to stipulate in a concrete way that they do not have the right to hold control stocks, which would mean foreign persons would be allowed to hold less than 50%", explained to us Dragos Vicol.
The BC Chair added that the proposal would target all the owners of TV and radio stations so that they could not influence the content published by broadcasters. "The editorial policy of the radio and TV stations in the Republic of Moldova, however, must be developed taking into account the Moldovan factors. We ensure freedom of expression, but we consider that their influence must be limited up to 49%", said Vicol.

Igor Chaika, businessman and the youngest son of the ex-Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, acquired, on December 27, 51% of the shares of Media Invest Service company (МЕДИА ИНВЕСТ СЕРВИС), founder of the enterprise Telesistem SRL. The latter holds the broadcast licenses for the channels Primul in Moldova and Accent TV.  Vadim Ciubara used to be the sole owner of Media Invest Service.