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SCJ Maintained the Decision of the Court of Appeal Which Required the BC to Review Its Decision on JURNAL TV

28 January 2019
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The Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) rejected, on 25 January, the second appeals of the Broadcasting Council (BC) and JURNAL TV against the decision of the Court of Appeal, which forced the Council to review its decision as regards the show ‘Ora Expertizei’, which was broadcast on 2 January on this channel.  The appeal was filed by representatives of the Democratic Party (PD), who initially complained to the BC against JURNAL TV and TVC 21 on the grounds that they would have admitted electioneering actions during the programs that were broadcast by these channels. Subsequently, being unsatisfied with the BC's decision, the representatives of PD went to the Court of Appeal, which ruled in their favour.

The CSJ rejected the second appeals of the BC and JURNAL TV and maintained the decision of the Court of Appeal of 22 January. SCJ decision is final.

Thus, the SCJ magistrates found that the lower court applied correctly the legal rules in this respect and that the broadcasters JURNAL TV and TVC 21 disseminated, during their programs, information on the election program of the ‘ACUM – Platform DA and PAS’ Electoral Block, until the official start of the election campaign.

Note that the Chisinau Court of Appeal, canceled, by the decision of 22 January, the decision of the BC of 14 January ‘On the examination of the monitoring results of the television broadcasters: ‘Jurnal TV’ and ‘TVC 21’ according to which ‘no electioneering activities took place in favour of “ACUM - Platform DA and PAS” or its members when broadcasting the programs’ and which obliged the BC to reexamine the appeal of PD in the mentioned part. The Court of Appeal also compelled the BC to check and see again the extent to which the broadcasters observe the legal provisions.

The representative of the Broadcasting Council, Grigore Chitanu, mentioned in the second appeal submitted to SCJ that when the decision of 22 January 2019 was adopted, the Chisinau Court of Appeal did not apply the Law on Administrative Courts, the Audiovisual Media Services Code, the Civil Procedure Code, but only the provisions of the Electoral Code. According to Chitanu, the request made by PD to the court had to be dismissed because it did not contain any argument and evidence proving that the decision of the BC was illegal. Moreover, the BC representative stated that ‘the notification filed with the Broadcasting Council on 9 January 2019 cannot be examined as an appeal on the coverage of the election campaign by broadcasters, because the rules regulating the behaviour during elections are against the broadcasters only when covering the election campaign’.

Dumitru Pavel, a journalist from Jurnal TV, wrote in the second appeal submitted to CSJ that the court of first instance did not take into account the fact that ‘Jurnal TV’ did not commit the alleged electioneering actions, but the leaders of ‘ACUM - Platform DA and PAS’ Election Block, which are also election candidates. ‘Moreover, in the absence of a complaint against electioneering activities of these election candidates, which were allegedly committed by ‘Jurnal TV’, the violation in the activity of this television broadcaster can not be established, as these are two interdependent things. On the other hand, Article 91 of the Electoral Code does not fall within the competence of the Broadcasting Council, and this institution does not have to check whether someone observed this article or not’, argued Dumitru Pavel in the second appeal.

Remember that as revealed by the BC monitoring results, no electioneering was made for ‘ACUM – DA Platform and PAS’ Electoral Bloc or its members during ‘Ora Expertizei’ show broadcast by ‘Jurnal TV’ on 2 January 2019 and ‘Glavnoe’ show broadcast by ‘TVC 21’ on 3 January 2019.
The monitoring activities were conducted after Vadim Motarschi, a representative of PD from the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) informed the relevant authority.