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Maia Sandu, on the need to return Teleradio-Moldova under parliamentary control: Let’s remove it from Dodon’s control

19 November 2021
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President Maia Sandu supported the draft law on the return of the public company Teleradio-Moldova (TRM) under parliamentary control in order to “remove it from Dodon’s control [Igor Dodon – former president of Moldova]” and “have a BBC of Moldova.” She made this statement at a press conference on November 19.

When asked by journalists about the decision to return TRM under parliamentary control, Maia Sandu invoked the need to “remove it from Dodon’s control. Because first it was under the control of Plahotniuc [former head of the Democratic Party] and then under Dodon, and we don’t think it is normal.”

She said she had promulgated the law so that citizens could benefit from quality services. “We believe that we must have a public television, a television of citizens. And I am not the only one who is saying it. Over time, citizens have also expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that public money is used to support, finance a television that one day works for one politician, then for some other. So, we need to have some sort of a BBC of Moldova. There are some people at the national television that do their job very well, but then the leadership does not have independence to be able to organize work according to the expectations of citizens, according to the development of modern press in the world and in Moldova.”

According to her, it is necessary to monitor what kind of people will be delegated to the leadership of the public company and how it will change, whether it will change well enough.

The head of state asked the journalist who addressed this question if he was satisfied with the way things worked at TRM in recent years. “I’m not commenting on ... my colleagues,” the reporter replied.

Igor Dodon, president of the Party of Socialists, did not answer the phone to comment on Maia Sandu’s statements. Earlier, Party of Socialists MPs criticized the draft law on the return of TRM under parliamentary control, claiming that the ruling party “intends to politically subordinate the country’s broadcasting, especially the public company Teleradio-Moldova, and transform it into a tool of the government.” “These changes contradict all the international expert assessments and recommendations that have been the basis for the adoption of the current Code [of Audiovisual Media Services], directly the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, as well as several international agreements. They also affect freedom of expression and come to impose censorship,” said the Party of Socialists MP Adela Răileanu.

The draft law on the return of Teleradio-Moldova (TRM) company under parliamentary control and on new mechanisms for appointing the members of the Supervisory Board and the Broadcasting Council has been voted in the final reading on November 4 and entered into force the next day.

According to amendments made to the Code of Audiovisual Media Services, the Supervisory and Development Board (new name of the TRM’s supervisory body) is made up of seven members instead of nine, four of whom are to be members of civil society. They are to be selected after the term of office of the current members ended on November 5, with the publication in the Official Gazette of the promulgation decree and the law for amending the Code.