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Development of Moldovan mass media remains stagnant, concludes report

A journalist documents the municipal voting process in Chisinau, Moldova, June 2011.
A journalist documents the municipal voting process in Chisinau, Moldova, June 2011.

Ramin Mazur/Demotix

In 2013 the situation of the media in Moldova did not change radically. According to international media freedom rankings, freedom of the press in the Republic of Moldova maintained the same level as in previous years. This lack of significant progress is almost entirely explained by the status quo in domestic politics and in relevant legislation. These are the main conclusions of the Annual Press Freedom Report in the Republic of Moldova in 2013 released by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC).

The annual report contains five main chapters which include information on public broadcasting, print and online press, and also an analysis of the media in the Transnistrian region.

Chapter one "Developments and trends in Moldovan press in 2013" reviews the most important political events, as well as the development of the media market. According to the report, the mass media in Moldova is partly free and faces the same challenges as in previous years. The specific legislation was not harmonized with European norms; a new Broadcasting Code was not adopted although the Code of 2006 is increasingly inadequate; the reform of the public broadcaster Teleradio-Moldova (TRM) stagnated.

Chapter two is dedicated to the public broadcasting sector. It assesses the performance of the Broadcasting Coordinating Council and of TRM and Teleradio-Gaguzia. The annual report notes that the year 2013 was marked by some positive changes at TRM, but they were not sufficient as to ascertain that the reforms started in 2011 were successfully implemented.

The third part of the annual report "Freedom of expression and defamation in 2013" reflects the media specific legislative developments and court cases involving media outlets. According to it, the legal framework has not improved in the past year, except for some modifications to the Criminal Code under which precluding mass media activities and censorship of public media qualify as criminal offenses. Furthermore, in 2013 there were a number of cases of violations of journalists' rights and cases of verbal attacks by politicians against journalists increased.

Chapter four includes an analysis of press freedom in the Transnistrian region and reflects the most significant local media events and the conduct of the local press in 2013. The report concludes that the year 2013 was not an easy year for the media in the Transnistrian region as they faced an increased number of cases of restrictions of the freedom of expression by the local administration.

The last part of the report includes conclusions for 2013 and prognosis for 204 by journalists and civil society representatives.

The report was produced by the Independent Journalism Center with the support of Civil Rights Defenders from Sweden. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the donors. The report is available in Romanian, English and Russian.

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