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The Parliamentary Committee for Mass-media Rejected the 2018 BC Activity Report, and Certain MPs Asked the Council’s Members to Resign in Corpore

03 July 2019
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During the hearings held on 3 July 2019, the Parliamentary Committee for Mass-media rejected the 2018 Broadcasting Council (BC) Activity Report.
In addition, certain members of the Parliamentary Committee asked the current members of the BC to resign, since they’d have allowed the Government to maintain its ownership on the media. Six out of seven MPs attending the hearings voted for issuing a negative opinion on the report.
The MPs also set up a working group under the specialised Committee, to monitor media issues.
The group has three persons – Lilian Carp (President of the group, representative of ‘ACUM’ faction), Adela Raileanu (PSRM) and a member of the opposition.
A number of broadcasting issues were considered during the hearings – BC activity, advertising-related issues, audience measuring, TV and Radio monitoring, the delayed sanctions imposed by the authority, etc.
Vicol’s defense
The BC Chair, Dragos Vicol, from the beginning said he would focus on problematic issues while introducing the report and he wouldn’t tell the MPs only about the data on the number of decisions taken.
During his speech, he said that any political power is tempted to instil loyalty in the Council members. Vicol mentioned that it was complicated to remain apolitical, as required by the law, given the fact that following the monitoring of the TV channels during the election campaign, he had to comment on certain political phenomena.
In this context, BC Chair highlighted that the broadcasting regulator should not monitor the TV channels and radio stations during election campaigns because in this way the Board is turning into a ‘Central Electoral Commission’s appendix’.
 Vicol added that the BC monitored the TV channels and the quality of presenters’ speech in Romanian and other monitoring related to advertising, observing the right to equality, etc.
Also, during the hearings, Vicol complained that the regulator lacked advanced technical equipment to properly perform its duties.
Apart from that, the BC Chair also referred to the civil society critics regarding the deadlines for reviewing their notifications.
He highlighted that the regulator must comply with the legal provisions on the review of such issues and hear also the party concerned in this context, the process thus becoming more difficult.
Resignation letter
MP Maria Ciobanu, ‘ACUM’ faction, was the first to advocate for the rejection of the Activity Report and the resignation of the BC members.
 
She also referred to the fact that a ‘fierce censure’ captured the public television channel and that the opposition was not covered enough by their broadcasts.
In this context, Maria Ciobanu criticised the BC Chair for the lack of certain public reactions to what happened at Moldova 1 TV channel lately.
In this respect, Dragos Vicol declared that the authority cannot intervene with the editorial policy of the public TV channel and that BC recently sanctioned the latter for the way it covered the events of June 2019.
After examining various issues in the field, the MP from ‘ACUM’ faction, Octavian Ticu also requested the BC members to resign.
He clearly stated that the situation in the country changed once the Parliament adopted the statement on ‘state capture’. That statement indicated that this happened including with the Broadcasting Council’s support. Ticu added the BC acted as a ‘truncheon for the opposition’ during that period, by sanctioning Jurnal TV, delaying the licensing of TV8 channel, failing to react to fake and manipulative news that infested the Moldovan information space. Thus, Octavian Ticu also advocated for the dismissal of all BC members.
As a reply to Ticu, BC member, Olga Gututui, told him not to generalise. Olga Gututui believed she had properly fulfilled her duties as BC member.
MPs also objected to the way BC monitored the election campaigns, selected the TV audience measurement company, digitalised the broadcasting space, monitored Teleradio-Moldova, etc.
According to the Broadcasting CodeBC shall present its annual Activity Report during the plenary session of the Parliament.
By 1 March of the following year, the Broadcasting Council shall submit its annual Activity Report to the specialised Parliamentary Committee and publish it on the Council’s website.