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The Parliament's contest for two vacancies in the BC began with accusations of political interests

19 June 2020
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The contest to fill two vacancies in the Broadcasting Council (BC) began with accusations in the Parliament after the Permanent Bureau of the Parliament nominated four candidates on Wednesday, 17 June 2020. Several representatives of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) and Dignity and Truth Platform Party (PPDA) parliamentary groups accused their socialist and democrat colleagues of allegedly damaging the competition by admitting some politically affiliated people. The MPs of the Democratic Party (PDM) and the Socialists Party (PSRM) refused to comment on this topic for Media Azi.
The four candidates admitted to the competition – Victor Focsa and Larisa Manole (proposed by PDM), Ala Ursu-Antoci and Vadim Misin (proposed by the PSRM) – will compete in the interview test that will be organized by the specialized parliamentary commission. Their CVs have not been made public yet. The communication officers of the Parliament told Media Azi that they would present documents as soon as they obtain them from the commission’s consultants.

According to publicly available data, Larisa Manole was previously employed at the company Teleradio-Moldova, where she was the head of the TV News Department and Romanian-speaking evening newscaster. She left Teleradio-Moldova in September 2002, worked as editor-in-chief of the portal, and in 2008, she became the press secretary of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova.

In 2002, Manole and other journalists complained against the Republic of Moldova to the European Court of Human Rights for violation of the right to freedom of expression. According to the applicants, Teleradio-Moldova “was censored throughout its existence.” In September 2009, the ECHR ruled in their favor.

Ala Ursu-Antoci is the head of the cabinet of the PSRM parliamentary group. She was 43rd on the party’s electoral list in the February 2019 parliamentary elections in the national electoral district.

“We will not allow such a thing”

Shortly after the nomination of the four candidates, the Vice-President of the Parliament Alexandru Slusari said that this contest had been mimicked by the MPs of the PSRM and PDM since the persons proposed by PPDA were not admitted. The MP told Media Azi that those persons are Angela Arama, journalist and former MP representing the Christian Democratic People’s Party; and Nelly Sambris, producer at Jurnal TV.

In total, six people entered the competition. “Two from us, two from the PSRM, and two from the PDM. The PAS did not nominate candidates,” Slusari told us.

The day after the nomination, the PPDA parliamentary group announced that they would request a review of the decision. “We are also considering a possible application to the Constitutional Court or maybe a court of law – lawyers would have to decide what is better, – but we will not allow such a thing,” said in a briefing Vasile Nastase, deputy chair of the parliamentary commission for the media. “True democracy is when there is an independent press. This decision of the PDM, definitely made together with the PSRM, to nominate candidates for the BC based on political reasons, damages democracy in the Republic of Moldova,” commented the MP Lilian Carp from the PAS parliamentary group.

Asked by Media Azi to comment on the accusations, the chair of the specialized parliamentary commission, socialist MP Adrian Lebedinschi, advised us to address the press service. We tried to obtain a reaction from the PDM, but no one answered our questions.

According to the Code of Audiovisual Media Services, the BC consists of nine members: two proposed by the Parliament, one by the President, one by the Government, and five by civil society organizations, selected through public competition by the specialized parliamentary commission. Currently, six members are active in the BC, after Dorina Curnic, Veronica Cojocaru, and Olga Gututui resigned last year, invoking the danger of the Council being politicized.

​UPDATE. After the publication of the material, our editorial office received a reaction from the PSRM to the statements of the opposition MPs. Quote: “The procedure for nominating candidates took place in accordance with the Code of Audiovisual Media Services. The final decision will be approved by the specialized parliamentary commission. (…) The conscious omission of information is already manipulation! It is unfortunate that the MP Vasile Nastase ‘forgot’ to inform about the fact that the PPDA parliamentary group presented a report nominating two candidates for the BC.”