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The IJC Notifies the BC of the Behavior of Primul in Moldova, NTV Moldova, and TV6 Channels during the Election Campaign

18 June 2021
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The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) filed three petitions to the Broadcasting Council (BC) based on the first report on monitoring media behavior during the election campaign launched by the organization on Monday, June 14. The complaints mention such channels as Primul in Moldova, NTV Moldova, and TV6, which, according to the research, massively favored certain election participants on June 1-10.

The petitions targeting the three channels were filed on June 16 and June17. According to them, NTV Moldova and Primul in Moldova failed to provide equal access to news to all the election participants, reflecting the events related to the campaign in a biased and unbalanced way. The researchers state that two channels massively favored the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists (EBCS), both by the presence of direct speech and positive presentation. On the other hand, the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) was obviously in a disadvantaged position, being mentioned or quoted only in a negative context.

TV6 reflected the activity of most election candidates correctly and impartially, with the exception of the Sor Political Party (Sor PP), PAS, and the “Acasa Construim Europa” Party. “Sor PP was obviously favored by some positive news, including those on the activity of the head of the district and the mayor of Orhei, the representatives of the Sor PP. The representatives of the PAS and Maia Sandu, the President of the Republic of Moldova, were disadvantaged due to a large number of accusations in the news, based either on the election participants’ statements or on some information from the online environment,” the report states.

Nadine Gogu, the IJC Executive Director, mentioned at the conference dedicated to presenting the monitoring results that both the report and individual petitions regarding certain media service providers were sent to the BC because some channels “disregard not only the deontological provisions – actually,  we are not talking only about deontology and self-regulation here – but also ignore legal provisions.” “First and foremost, it is about providing access to the election participants. If no access is offered, it means that these channels fail to fulfill their mission. They use their frequencies, they have their licenses, there is an institution which is supposed to regulate this field, but as we have seen in recent years, everyone does whatever they want in this segment, more or less obviously, especially when it comes to TV channels which simply seem to ignore both the monitoring reports of the civil society and the Broadcasting Council,” Nadine Gogu argues.

The IJC representative adds that the organization will also monitor the BC’s reaction to civil society monitoring reports and petitions and inform the public whether they will be considered or not. “The BC will have its own reports. Pursuant to the regulations, they must basically take their reports into account, and when they decide to apply a certain sanction they use their reports, applying a different methodology. They rely a lot upon appearances on the screen – quotations and references, – and only after that, they consider the seconds. But they do not consider this issue profoundly, within the context, or examine how the news are made or structured, or whether the provisions of the Code are complied with in these news,” Nadine Gogu explains.

During the campaign before the presidential elections of November 1, 2020, the Broadcasting Council rejected several petitions from the Independent Journalism Center regarding breaches identified while monitoring Primul in Moldova, Accent TV, NTV Moldova, and Televiziunea Centrala (currently TV6) on October 7-14, 2020, the period of the IJC’s third monitoring report. According to the NGO, the channels massively favored certain participants, while the others were either ignored or mentioned in a negative context. The Council explained that three of the channels listed in the petitions had been monitored by the authority, and the channels that had committed the breaches had been warned verbally.

Cristina Durnea, the lawyer at the Independent Journalism Center, says that the previous year was unfortunately marked by the broadcasting authority’s “fortifying a practice of superficially examining petitions reporting the breaches committed by TV channels which obviously and unquestionably favor certain election participants.” “The starting point of the monitoring implemented by the BC this year is only June 12. The IJC report also covers the period of time omitted by the Board. Hence, upon receiving and examining the IJC’s petitions, the authority has to verify whether the suppliers’ actions taken before June 10 comply with the requirements established by the electoral and broadcasting legislation (the provisions of the Electoral Code, the CEC Regulation, and the Media Services Code),” Cristina Durnea declares.