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Media Concentration in the Moldovan Broadcasting Market/ New TV Stations Based in Orhei, Affiliated to Ilan Sor, Built with Borrowed Money and with Civil Servants as Moderators

19 October 2018
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After Vlad Plahotniuc and Igor Dodon, Ilan Sor is the next politician building a media holding – with a large number of TV shows announced at the Orhei TV and ‘Central Television’ stations, which are affiliated to him, to be moderated by people close to Mayor of Orhei. Thus, Ilan Sor's wife, Jasmin, will present ‘Soul Conversations’, and his deputy, Diana Memet – ‘Local Time’ and, probably, ‘Mayor's Hour’. The TV shows will be broadcast on both televisions.

According to the management of TV stations, funds for such media projects were gathered from the ‘loans made by several individuals and legal entities’, who trust these televisions.

The manager of the two TV stations, Dumitru Chitoroaga, the ‘proxy representative’ of the Sor Party says that the TV shows will be launched most likely on 8 November, but does not exclude that this will happen earlier. Newsmaker portal wrote that Jasmin will host ‘Soul Conversation’ (Душевный разговор) TV show, which will be filmed in Moscow.

Russian journalist Alexandr Kovalev, known as the host of a culinary reality show on Ren TV Russia, will do the ‘With your own eyes’ (Своими глазами) TV show.

Weekly TV show ‘Good evening’ (Добрый вечер) will be moderated by the actress of Russian Theatre ‘Anton Cehov’ – Vera Mariancic and the Israeli actor – Ian Levinson.

The TV Show is for All Mayors

The names of TV shows and moderators are displayed on several billboards both in Orhei and on the streets of the capital city. A billboard with the text ‘Mayor’s Hour Every Week’, is displayed in several places in Chisinau and features Ilan Sor. Asked whether this would be Ilan Sor’s TV show, manager Dumitru Chitoroaga replied that any mayor who would accept the producer’s invitation would be able to participate. ‘It is a TV show for all mayors. For instance, he (Ilan Sor – e.n.) can be one of the participants. If he wishes to participate he will, if not – he won’t... certainly, there are others who will participate’, Chitoroaga explained.
This TV show will most likely be moderated by the Deputy Mayor of Orhei, Diana Memet. Her name appears on the panel that announces her as the moderator of the ‘Local Time’ TV show.

Diana Memet also confirmed for that she was getting ready for the ‘Local Time’. ‘The TV show will be a project and a partnership between the Mayor's Office and the TV station. We will talk about the issues of our settlement and other settlements as well, i.e. the daily things that I am in the best position to talk about’, Memet explained.

She added that she would not stop working as deputy mayor and would combine both positions. ‘It will be a talk show with debates. I mean, we identify the issue, we look for the solution together, and we probably find the issue right during the show. I don’t see any conflict of interest here’, Memet added.
When asked about being a member of a political party, Diana Memet refused to answer this question directly, but suggested that her name could be also identified in some reports on the activity of some parties.

Journalists Cristina Moldovanu and Dorina Gherganov will present the newscasts. Journalist Ghenadie Vaculovschi will moderate the political talk shows.
Ghenadie Vaculovschi declared for that the concept of the TV show that he was going to present had not been developed yet. Also, he is not sure if it will be about politics. ‘It's probably going to be a debate TV show, it's not necessarily a political TV show. We are in talks now. We cannot say anything definitely’, Vaculovschi said.

The morning talk show ‘Good morning’ will be presented by Avelin Tabarcea and the illusionist Garry Cozma.

Confidential loans from trusting persons: ‘It's not a secret, but I can not say.’

Dumitru Chitoroaga specified that the funds for both TV stations were raised on the basis of loan contracts, concluded with individuals who trust the management of media outlets, but cannot reveal their names due to confidentiality reasons. ‘I’d gladly reveal you the sources of funds to avoid any doubts, suspicions or interpretations, but unfortunately there is a confidentiality clause in any loan contract, which I cannot break. These are both individuals and legal entities. It's not a secret, but I can not say. The people who trust us and gave us the money might not want to be revealed. We’re talking about a perfectly lawfully loan contract, signed by both parties’, Chitoroaga explained.
The manager of both TV stations also said that there were no politicians among the those who gave money for the development of TV broadcasters.

Dumitru Chitoroagă, prezentat ca împuternicit al Partidului Politic Șor în mun. Chișinău, sectoarele Botanica și Centru. 27 iulie 2018, Chișinău. Sursa foto: Facebook

According to Chitoroaga, both TV stations are to be funded from loans taken for a determined period, aiming at passing to self-financing in future. ‘It is very difficult for a TV broadcaster with a low rating to switch to self-financing. We have succeeded it even with TV stations with low ratings. Why not to succeed now? It is an attempt’, told us Chitoroaga.

He denied the hypotheses of some Internet users that the TV stations were launched with an electoral purpose on the eve of the 2019 Parliamentary elections. Chitoroaga added that he still was unaware whether the said TV stations would broadcast electoral advertising during the upcoming campaign.

As for the rumors about the generous salaries of the journalists who agreed to work for these two TV stations, Chitoroaga responded that ‘they are not that big’. ‘These are decent salaries for decent work’, concluded Dumitru Chitoroaga.

The beneficial owners of the TV channels, close to the Shor family

Officially, the beneficial owner of the two TV channels is Rita Tvik, author of the book ‘Life and destiny’ a biography of Ilan Shor’s father, Miron Shor. According to, she is also the founder of the News Agency Novosti-Moldova [News-Moldova], while her husband – Vladimir Novosadiuc – is the head of Sputnik Moldova Agency. The spouses were mentioned in the report developed by Kroll – the company hired by the Moldovan authorities to investigate the bank frauds. According to the document, Rita Tvik and Vladimir Novasadiuc, both shareholders at Unibank, borrowed MDL 12 million each from Harrogate Consulting LLP. Moreover, the media reported that in 2014 they both acted as intermediaries, helping the mayor of Orhei take over Euro TV and Alt TV.

Rita Tvik is also the founder of Klassika Media SRL, a company that founded Media Resurse SRL and Alternativ-TV SRL, which manage the TV stations. According to the statements submitted to the Broadcasting Coordination Council (BCC),  Media Resurse SRL is currently the owner of the two TV stations.

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