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Jurnal TV got a public warning for the opinions expressed in the Secrets of Power program

21 July 2021
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The Broadcasting Council (BC) has publicly warned the television station Jurnal TV for non-compliance with the requirements for ensuring correct information in an edition of the Secrets of Power [Secretele Puterii] program. The sanction was applied at the meeting of July 21, following the examination of a petition submitted to the BC by a citizen.

The petitioner Dmitry Bezobrazov complained of electoral campaigning during the June 30 edition of the Secrets of Power program, moderated by Alex Cozer. The first part of the program had President Maia Sandu as a participant, and the participants of the second part were the Dignity and Truth Platform MP Inga Grigoriu and, through messenger, the Action and Solidarity Party MP Dumitru Alaiba. Dmitry Bezobrazov mentioned in the application the behavior of the moderator who, in his opinion, incited guests to launch accusations against third parties, such as the General Prosecutor Alexandru Stoianoglo and businessman Veaceslav Platon. Bezobrazov believes that the moderator “violated several principles, such as impartiality, presumption of innocence, the right to reply, etc.”

The representatives of Jurnal TV initially informed the BC that they would not examine Bezobrazov’s application because it was not written in Romanian, as required by the Administrative Code. “We, as a private institution, have no obligation to examine applications received in languages ​​other than those provided for the procedure,” the station argued. After receiving the monitoring report of the BC, Jurnal TV requested the examination of the matter to be postponed so they could prepare for defense, but the BC did not meet the request, stating that the examination of the petition took place within legal terms.

According to the BC monitoring data, during the discussion with President Sandu the moderator of Secrets of Power focused on the inaction of the General Prosecutor’s Office, the general prosecutor, and also targeted the businessman Veaceslav Platon with several accusations against him, but their replies were missing. In the second part of the program, discussion focused on the report of the Parliamentary Committee investigating the circumstances that led to money laundering in particularly large proportions (the so-called “Laundromat”). “Thus, following the monitoring, we found that the entire program was based on the statements of the guests and the moderator, having outlined a common and unilateral opinion. It should be noted that the moderator’s questions, overall, were rhetorical and not intended to inform correctly and impartially,” the monitoring report says. According to the BC, towards the end of the program, the moderator mentioned that Veaceslav Platon refused to exercise his right to reply.

Most BC members found the program’s moderator to be biased. For example, Larisa Manole said that he “did not fulfill his mission” and the station can be sanctioned “for a unilateral and biased approach,” and Lidia Viziru said that the program was broadcast during the electoral campaign, so the moderator had to be “doubly impartial, so that the viewers could form their own opinions on the topics discussed in the program.”

Dragoș Vicol found that the moderator’s opinions were imposed on the viewers. “It was practically an attempt to ‘Bolshevism’ and a presentation of an overwhelmingly dominant point of view so that other opinions cannot exist. Contradictory points of view are not presented at all,” he said.

Corneliu Mihalache had a separate opinion, mentioning that, traditionally, he does not vote for the sanctioning of media service providers in cases when journalists express their opinions. “It is a common program for the Moldovan audiovisual space. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is practically impossible to fight with,” he commented.

Thus, with a majority of votes, Jurnal TV was sanctioned with a public warning for non-compliance with the requirements regarding the provision of correct information about a fact or event.