Media Landscapes

Moldova

Written by Diana Lungu

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Republic of Moldova, an Eastern European country with a population of circa 4 million, gained its independence from the Soviet Union on 27 August 1991. Moldova, landlocked between Romania and Ukraine, aims at becoming a member of the European Union and is part of the EU’s instruments of democracy promotion: European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership. The majority of its population (62.9 percent in November 2009) supports the European integration of the country.

The country is confronted in the East with a separatist regime that emerged in 1990. After a short bloody war in 1992 the unrecognised republic of Transnistria, which aims to join the Russian Federation, was self-proclaimed. Despite the permanent neutrality provision established by the Constitution, stocks of old Soviet ammunition and Russian military troops are stationed in this secessionist region that still remains outside the control of the Moldovan authorities. In the South-west the Turkish-language speaking Gagauz region has gained autonomous status in 1994, with own political, economic and cultural affairs powers.

Moldova is famous for its wine industry. The Golden Collection Milestii Mici is registered in the Guiness Book of Records for being the biggest Wine Collection in the world, with over two millions bottles of wine.

The press scenery in Moldova has been undergoing the same difficult transition to democratic values and standards as the country itself since its independence in 1991. The 2009 Freedom House assessment identified Moldova’s press as not free. According to the Reporters without Borders Press Index Moldova’s media situation has gone from bad to worse in 2009 and the country was placed only on the 114th position on a total of 175. This comes as a consequence of the fact that the media in Moldova has been highly politicized and influenced by the previous Communist Government throughout its entire eight years of rule (2001 - 2009), and continued to remain an instrument of political influence, a reminiscent of Soviet times. The media situation was also aggravated by the lack of democratic traditions, insufficient financial resources, scarce management and marketing skills, and self-censorship. Therefore, few media outlets managed to be truly independent of political influence and economic pressures.

Nonetheless, the media landscape has succeeded to become more dynamic in recent years, as online media channels have entered into play and foreign media outlets have announced investments in the Moldovan media market. The defeat of the Communist Party in the 2009 parliamentary elections also gave hope for better conditions for media development.

Nowadays, the number of media institutions, including the Transnistrian region, count up to 410, a relatively high figure for the small Moldovan media market, especially taken into account that more than half of them appeared after 2000. There are approximately 243 newspapers and magazines, 16 press agencies and over 150 electronic media.

Mass media is trusted by 51.3 percent of population, which is only outranked by the confidence entrusted by Moldovans to church (79.8 percent), according to 2009 data.

The print media, state, political, commercial or non-commercial, represents approximately 60 percent of the total number of media institutions, according to data from 2008. The circulation varies between 150/1000 copies for quarterly and biannual magazines, between 500/25.000 for weeklies and 3000/9000 for dailies. Approximately 50 specialised and local newspapers are financed by state and other 42 are edited by non-governmental organizations.

The broadcasting field has evolved enormously since early ‘90s. There are currently 166 cable operators, 38 terrestrial TV channels and 50 radio stations. 83,4 percent of the population watches the TV on a daily basis and 51.4 percent listens to radio every day, according to a November 2009 survey. The same data informs that the television remains the main source of information for 72.9 percent of the people, while only 8.9 percent give preference to the radio. 60.9 percent of the citizens have the highest trust in the television and only 8.5 percent consider the radio to be the most trusted media.

The broadcasting field is regulated by the Broadcasting Code, which also defines the responsibilities and powers of the Broadcasting Coordinating Council (the authority in charge of supervising the audiovisual field). Adopted in 2006, the Broadcasting Code also contains provisions stipulating among other things that the broadcasting authority should allocate at least 70 percent of the audiovisual frequencies to broadcasters offering programmes in the state language.

The global trend of reduced interest in newspapers is also confirmed in Moldova, with only 3 percent of citizens that consider the print media their main source of information and 4.5 percent that regard the newspapers as the most trusted media source. Moreover, 34.4 percent declare that they haven’t read a single newspaper in the last three months, while only 10.1 percent read the newspapers on a daily basis, as it results from data of November 2009. The same survey reveals that 53.7 percent of Moldovans haven’t read any book in the last three months and only 8.2 percent read books on a daily basis.

Many print editions persist to serve the political or the patron’s interests rather than committing to the public’s best interest. The print media, besides the traditional distinctions of regional or national press, daily or weekly editions, general or economic content, continues to be best distinguished and divided along the lines of language of publication: Romanian or Russian edited newspapers. The Russian, Ukrainian, Gagauz, Bulgarian and Jewish minorities also publish their own publications, most of them in Russian language.

A still visible discrepancy in the urban and rural areas regarding newspaper interest exists, and is further made evident by a weak distribution system in the rural areas, where newspapers might reach the population up to several days after publication. The regional press is still underdeveloped and faces difficult challenges to keep up with new media technologies. At the same time, the press potential is concentrated mainly in the capital, where it has started developing into profitable business. Newspapers have also turned to new media technologies and almost all have online editions, with distinct and updated content from the printed editions. The case of Jurnal de Chisinau that evolved from a weekly into a daily and later created the first Internet TV channel and managed recently to regroup into a powerful media network - Jurnal Trust Media - is representative of the professional and managerial capacity and prospects of the print media in the country.

Radio Moldova is the oldest radio station in the country, having started its activity on 30th October 1930, when, from an improvised studio in Tiraspol, it held its first broadcast in Romanian. The Radio house of 10 floors was built 20 years ago. It is part of the public broadcaster IPNA “Teleradio-Moldova” and has also been accused of favoring pro-governmental oriented news. It has a rich historical audio archive and around 400 employees.

The Antena C radio station was founded in 1998, in 2004 it became a municipal media institution and later in 2007 underwent a privatization procedure and was taken over by people close to the Communist Party of Moldova and openly favoured this political party.

Other popular media stations include Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Vocea Basarabiei, Noroc, PRO FM Chisinau, Kiss FM, Radio Nova, Hit FM, etc.

The national public broadcaster is IPNA “Teleradio-Moldova”. It is financed from the state budget and its statute is regulated by the Broadcasting Code that also establishes a Supervisory Board for the institution in order to monitor that its activity serves the public interest. IPNA “Teleradio-Moldova” embeds several media outlets into its network: the TV channels Moldova 1 (the public TV station with national coverage since 1958), and TV Moldova International (broadcasts via satellite for Moldovans abroad. It cesed transmitting on 15 January 2010 due to a lack of retransmission agreements with an operator. It will temporarily produce 5-hour emissions for TV Moldova 1), Radio Moldova (national coverage, first broadcast was in 1930), and Radio Moldova International (with broadcasts in Romanian, English, French, Spanish and Russian).

The company still lags behind in truly becoming a public broadcaster and throughout the years has undergone several stages of restructuring, but kept being biased and has been known to propagate the official viewpoint of the authorities. On 17 September 2009, the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled its verdict in the case Manole and others versus Moldova and condemned the country of suppression of freedom of expression (violation of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights) through censorship at the national television. The Court has ruled that the censorship imposed at the national television has constituted an unjustified interference in the journalists’ rights to freedom of expression and a grave obstruction of their right in a democratic society to communicate information to the public. The Court noted that at that time (after several years of struggle at the national level, the journalists have appealed to the ECHR in 2002) the national TV channel was the only TV station with national coverage, and circa 60 percent of the population lived in rural area without access to alternative sources of cable or satellite television. Therefore, the European judicial authority, in a unique case so far, has unanimously condemned the censorship at the national television in Moldova, mentioning that it was of vital importance that the national TV station broadcasted impartial information and that the state had the obligation to provide conditions for this right to be realized.

NIT was founded in 1997 as a local station, but in 2005 became the only private TV station that broadcasts nationally. Its favored position was acquired due to close relations with the communist authorities in office at that time. N4 is another private TV station, but with regional coverage, which is also influenced editorially by the Communist Party. Pro TV Chisinau is an independent TV station launched in 1999, part of the Romanian group Pro TV. EuTV was previously owned by the Chisinau Municipal Council, but has been privatized in 2007 and as a result came under the influence of the leader of the Christian Democratic People’s Party. Prime had its first broadcast in Moldova in 1999 as part of the Russian most popular TV station ORT, now Первый Канал. TV 7 was launched in 2006 by the Analitic Media Group in partnership with the Russian НТВ and НТВ Мир. «Мир» Молдова is the local representative of the МТРК "МИР" founded within the activity of the Community of Independent States. Alt TV is a new TV station which broadcasts 30 percent of authentic content in Romanian, while the rest is covered by retransmission from the Romanian station B1 TV. TV Publika was given broadcasting license in early November 2009. With a staff of 120 journalists and supported by the Romanian Realitatea TV, Publika TV promises to be a 24-hour station of authentic content in Romanian (80 percent) and Russian (20 percent). It will start its activity in February 2010. Jurnal TV is expected to launch its broadcasts in early 2010, being the first private news TV with national coverage. It will be a 24-hour TV station with a staff of 150 people, and with an initial investment of one million euro provided by a German investor. It is operated by Jurnal Trust Media, a network that also runs: the newspaper Jurnal de Chisinau, the magazines Eco and Apropo, the radio station Jurnal FM, the online news portal jurnal.md and the first Internet TV channel jurnaltv.md. Muz TV Moldova is a music and entertainment channel.

According to the latest available data from November 2009, the first positions of TV preferences are occupied as follows: Moldova 1 (56.2 percent), Prime TV (55.4 percent), Pro TV (30.7 percent), NIT (21.7 percent), TV7 (9.7 percent), etc.

The history of the Moldovan cinema is closely linked to the film production of the Soviet Union. In 1952 the USSR Ministry of Cinematography has initiated in Chisinau The Documentary Film Studio and later in 1957 renamed it into “Moldova-film”. Between 1952 and 1982 the “Moldova-film” studio screened: 120 fiction movies, 800 documentaries, 750 editions of the cinema magazine "Soviet Moldova", 40 editions of the satiric magazine “Usturici”, 40 cartoon pictures. During the 80s, "Moldova-film" was producing annually about four fiction movies and 25 documentaries. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, due to economic motives, the decline of the film production has started and mainly privately owned studios have appeared, but were primarily oriented at commercial projects. The situation at the “Moldova-Film” studio has become deplorable in recent years, but the institution still kept its production capacities inherited from the centralized system.

“Telefilm-Chisinau” studio was founded in 1959 as a creative association and has produced circa 300 artistic films, documentaries and concert-films. It has stopped its activity for a while; in 2005 it was partially re-launched. The Union of Film Makers of Moldova was constituted in 1962, as part of the Union of Film Makers of the Soviet Union, numbering at present 200 members.

There are 44 rural and 14 municipal cinemas and cinema installations in Moldova with an annual audience of 5000 and 26000 people respectively. All cinemas, with the exception of “Odeon” which partly presents movies in Romanian, cast movies that are imported from the Russian system of distribution and synchronized in Russian. Moldova still lacks a centre of synchronization/subtitling of movies in Romanian. At the beginning of 2010, after a petition initiated online by the bloggers community protesting against the fact that citizens can only watch movies dubbed in Russian, the Ministry of Culture has announced that within a 3-4 months period it will commence modification to the cinema legislation and later adopt a Regulation that will oblige all cinema actors to cast the movies in the original language and subtitle them in Romanian. In reply, Patria, the main cinema chain in Moldova, has threatened to double the prices for the movies, while the Ministry warned that if they don't comply to the new regulation, cinemas will be sanctioned and even closed down. The matter is still ongoing, but the Ministry has declared its firm position to change the abnormal situation of casting movies that are unnaccessible in the official language and it will oblige the cinema actors to provide subtitles in Romanian.

Throughout 2001-2005 the film making industry was coordinated by the Cinematography Department within the Ministry of Culture. Later in 2005 it has been reorganized and in 2006 it has been liquidated altogether, while the state has showed little interest in reviving or funding the field. Nowadays, the Moldovan cinematography has a great history (with names like Emil Loteanu), but lacks a strategy to re-launch the seventh art.

OWH TV Studio was founded in 1995, initiated at first as a creative atelier for young TV producers; it evolved into an independent institution that aims to offer an alternative to the existing TV production, but also to produce and promote high quality cinematography. Out of the enthusiasm of OWH TV Studio the International Documentary Film Festival CRONOGRAF, the only film festival in Moldova, was born. It takes place yearly in Chisinau since 2001. The Festival includes an international section of Documentary Film and three sections dedicated to local producers: Video Advertising, Music Video, Local TV Productions and aims to get the public closer to documentary film and filmmakers.

In 2007 the renowned film producer Valeriu Jereghi initiated Prim-Plan Studio.

The National Agency for Regulation of Electronic Communications and for Technology of Information (ANRCETI) is the main body that regulates the field and acts as a referee on the electronic communications market of networks and services. During its initial stage in year 2000 it was among the first authorities of such kind in the post-soviet space. Its activity is based on the Law on electronic communications.

Fixed telephony is dominated by Moldtelecom, the state-owned national telecommunications operator, which, according to the number of users, has a share of 97.52 percent (1 million and 104 thousand subscribers) of the market. The rest of the 2.48 percent is divided between the remaining 21 providers (ÎS „ Calea ferată din Moldova”, „Riscom”, „Arax - Impex”, „Sicres”, „Starnet”, „Orange Moldova”, etc.) present on the market. The penetration rate, reported to 100 citizens, is 31.7 percent, while the total number of subscribers to fixed telephony was 1 million 132 thousand at the end of September 2009.

There are four providers of mobile telephony services: Orange Moldova (the first mobile operator on the Moldovan market started its activity in 1998, with a share of 94.3 percent belonging to France Télécom and the rest to the Romanian subsidiary Orange România), Moldcell (founded in 2000, 99 percent of the company is owned by TeliaSonera and Turkcell), Unite (the first mobile operator to use the CDMA2000 technology, owned by Moldtelecom), Eventis Mobile (the newest operator on the market owned by a Moldo-Russian company). Recent information announces that Eventis Mobile has entered a phase of insolubility. According to data from October 2009, Orange, has, in relation to revenue numbers, a share of 73.24 percent of the market (1 million 788.5 thousand users), Moldcell – 23.41 percent (814 thousand users), Unite – 3.13 percent (98.6 thousand users) and Eventis Mobile – 0.22% (13.4 thousand users). The penetration rate of mobile telephony, reported to 100 citizens, has increased in 2009 to 76.1 percent.

The new media has started developing intensely in Moldova during recent years. Despite this, the Internet is the main source of information for only 8.6 percent of the population and is considered the most reliable source of information for 6.7 percent of the population.

The number of Internet users continues to increase rapidly. According to a November 2009 survey, 17 percent of the population uses the internet on a daily basis, while 56.7 percent haven’t used it at all within the last three months.

The broadband Internet penetration reported to 100 users accounted in September 2009 to 4.63 percent, while the dial-up connections reduced and only reached 0.57 percent (the tendency is explained by the increasing number of services of high speed Internet access).

The state-owned national telecommunications operator “Moldtelecom” has a share of 67.2 percent in the Internet services market, followed distantly by “Starnet” (10.4 percent) and “Orange Moldova” (5.3 percent), while the rest of 41 providers share the remaining 17.1 percent of the market.

Moldova started the discussions on the terrestrial digitalisation in 2009 and plans to implement it by 2015. According to the 2006 Geneva plan on digital broadcasting this process in Moldova will be implemented through six national and two regional networks.

The national digitalisation strategy is prepared by the specialists from the national public broadcaster together with the Ministry of Information and Telecommunication. The transition to digital TV is estimated to cost 400 million euro.

The intense development of new media technologies has lead to a rapid increase and activism of Moldovan bloggers. The blogging community maintains its own webpage – Blogosfera.md (has around 1000 blogs registered) and a Facebook page (which numbers around 300 members) and Twitter account. The Moldovan bloggers also initiated a blogging competition - Blogovăţ – which aims to create an alternative space of free expression, discussion and cooperation. The winners of the 2009 edition of Blogovăţ included the following blogs: Jurnalul Socarei Mici (the blog of the year), Stela Popa (best media blog), Oleg Brega (best civil society blog), Alexandru Culiuc (best specialized blog), Anatolie Juraveli (best personal blog).

A popular news portal also developed and upholds its own networks of blogs – blogs.UNIMEDIA, which hosts blogs of journalists, politicians and civil society representatives. Many journalists also maintain popular blogs that often become a source of public information alongside the traditional media outlets. Some of the popular media blogs include: Oleg Cristal, Stela Popa, Natalia Morari, Victor Nichitus, Vitalie Cojocari, Nata Albot, Petru Bugatu, etc.

  • Online media
    • Agenda.md provides an online calendar on events taking place in Moldova or involving Moldovan citizens abroad. 
    • Ava.md
    • Communicate.md is an online platform specialised in distributing press releases of public institutions, organizations and political parties.
    • Europa.md is an online portal dedicated since 2006 to promoting news and information regarding European Integration of Moldova and EU affairs.
    • HotNews
    • Jurnal TV is the first internet TV channel (news oriented), part of the network of Jurnal Trust Media.
    • Moldova.org was launched in 1997 and remains an independent portal that provides Moldova's and international news and information.
    • Moldova Azi was initiated in 2001 as a project of the Independent Journalism Centre.
    • MoldovaNova.md
    • Noroc TV is dedicated to promoting the traditional cultural heritage of Moldova.
    • Privesc.eu is a portal of online transmissions developed in 2009 by a team of volunteers. It provides free online non-moderated broadcasts from the most important events in Moldova.
    • Politik.md
    • Public TV
    • Stireazilei.md
    • Stiri.md
    • TheNews.md is specialised in economic and business journalism.
    • Unimedia is a very popular online news portal. In December 2009 it signed a deal of partnership with the Romanian Group Realitatea-Catavencu. ВЕСТИ is an online news portal in Russian, which is also administered by the same owners as Unimedia - New Media Group.
    • Yam News appeared in 2004 as the first online automatic news aggregator and processor in Moldova. It monitors information from many popular websites in 3 languages (Romanian, Russian and English).

Moldpres is the oldest news agency in Moldova. It is a state news agency founded by the Government of Moldova. Its origin dates back to 1935 when it started as the Moldovan Telegraphic Agency. Between 1990 and 1994, it was named the Information Agency Moldova-press, and it was reporting to the Moldovan Parliament. The agency has been subordinated to the Moldovan government since 1994, when it got its current name Moldpres. It also publishes the editions of Monitorul Oficial (the Official Gazette that contains official documents such as laws, treaties, resolutions of the parliament, and acts of the president, etc.).

BASA-press and Infotag are the first private news agencies in Moldova, having started their activity in 1992. Due to economic reasons, Basa-press has announced a temporary suspension of its activity starting in early 2010. DECA-press is active since 1997 and provides news with a focus on regional development. Imedia is formed of the core staff of former Radio BBC Chisinau employees, upon the closure of the station in 2008 as part of the BBC global reforms. Infomarket.Md is dedicated to economic news and analysis. Other news agencies include: Info-Prim Neo, Interlic, Noutati-Moldova, Omega. There are several news agencies operating in Transnistria: Ольвия-Пресс (Olvia-Press) was founded in 1992 by the so-called president of the separatist Transnistrian republic. Новый Регион-Приднестровье (New Region - Transnistria) is part of the Russian Agency Новый Регион, another one is Лента ПМР (Lenta PMR)

The Union of Moldovian Journalists was founded in 1957 as a creative organisation and later in 1998 was re-organised into a journalistic union. It has around 400 members, but unfortunately it has no real power of influence in society or among media organisations. In 2004 the Communist Government attempted to create an alternative trade union, the League of Professional Journalists, which gathered together journalists loyal to the Communist authorities. The alternative League was only operational for a year, but portrayed the existing division among pro-governmental and anti-governmental press.

The Association of Independent Press was established in 1997 by the common effort of the first independent local newspapers and carries its work under the slogan “For a professional, non-affiliated and profitable press”. It works towards development of independent regional media. The Association of Electronic Press (APEL) was created in 1999 aiming to contribute to the development of the audiovisual domain. It has 35 members. The Centre for promotion of freedom of expression and access to information “Access-Info” started its activity in 2000 and was actively involved in elaborating the Law on access to information.

The Centre of Young Journalist from Moldova was founded in 2002 by a group of 11 young journalists active in school newspapers from different regions of Moldova. It has the mission to develop youth mass media. The Association of Business Journalists gathers journalists reporting on economical topics.

The Investigative Journalism Center was created in April 2003 by a group of investigative journalists and three media organisations: the Association of Independent Press, the Association of Electronic Press and the Press Freedom Committee. The Investigative Journalism Centre is active in undertaking investigations on corruption, organised crime, traffic of human beings, protectionism, etc.

The UN Journalists' Club was established by the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Moldova in September 2001 as part of its media cooperation strategy. It aims “to create an interactive information exchange network that would promote the UN values and objectives and sustain its activities and impact”.

Moldova has a rather good legislation on media. Despite this, due to a lack of tradition in valuing media freedom, numerous political cases of media intimidation have been reported and media legislation abused during past years. Moldovan media organizations have repeatedly warned that the adjustment of Moldovan media legislation to the European standards is prejudiced by interventions based on momentary interests of the governmental authorities.

The Constitution (Article 32 (1)) guarantees “the freedom of thought, opinion, as well as freedom of expression in public by words, images, or any other possible means” to all citizens. At the same time, the Constitution (Articles 32 (3)) forbids and punishes “defamation of the state and the nation, the encouragement to war of aggression, to nationalistic, racial or religious hatred, incitement to discrimination, territorial separatism, public violence, as well as other manifestations that attempt at the legality of the constitutional regime”. Contrary to international norms, the Criminal Code (Article 347) sets punishments of up to 3 years imprisonment for “profanation of the flag, coat of arms, or anthem of the Republic of Moldova or of any other state”.

Moldova has decriminalized the defamation offence. Nonetheless, the Administrative Code (Article 70) provides up to 15 days imprisonment for libel and insults. The Civil Code (Article 16) guarantees every person the right to respect, honour, dignity and professional reputation and specifies refutation of untruthful information and payment of moral and material compensations, if otherwise proven. The law, however, lays down that the journalist should be the one to provide evidence to support his statements and it does not limit the maximum amount of compensation for moral prejudices to be paid if the media outlet is found guilty. This led to a number of cases of outrageous financial amounts claimed from journalists by authorities in attempts to politically influence the media.

The Law on access to information, adopted in 2000, stipulates that any citizen residing legally in Moldova can request information from the public authorities without explaining the motives. However, in practice the law has been breached on frequent occasions. A monitoring report from 2008 informs that the public authorities have responded only in 19,3% of cases of requests to access to information of public interest.

On 27th November 2008, the Parliament has adopted a “Law on state secret”, in spite of warnings from the international community to improve the document on grounds that the law does not encourage access to public information and needs a stricter definition of state secrets and on types of classified information. The law nonetheless entered into force on 27th May 2009.

The Government does not regulate the Internet activity through any particular piece of legislation and no consequent official actions to block or limit access to websites have been registered. However, during the April 2009 post-parliamentary riots in the country, which have also been labeled the “Twitter revolution” due to the big number of young people being mobilized onto the streets through social networks, the Communist Government in office at that time has been accused to have limited or blocked access to popular media outlets in an attempt to prevent the population from being informed on the real development of the violent events.

Besides the Code of professional ethics of the journalist from Moldova adopted in 1999 by the Union of Journalists from Moldova, other media institutions have elaborated their own Codes of Conduct such as The professional standards and the principles of journalistic ethics in the programmes of the IPNA “Teleradio-Moldova" and The Regulation of the Ethical Commission of the IPNA “Teleradio-Moldova”.

The Press Council has been created on 6th October 2009 by six civil society actors and aims to increase the professionalism of print media as well as mediate disputes arising between the readers and print press with regard to the published materials. Its activity is governed by a Regulation. Its first official meeting took place on 22nd January 2010.

The Broadcasting Coordinating Council (Consiliul Coordonator al Audiovizualului - CCA) is, according to its legal statute, the public autonomous authority regulating the public and private audiovisual media in Moldova and supervising the correct implementation of the Broadcasting Code. The Broadcasting Coordinating Council is the authority in charge with issuing the broadcasting licenses and retransmission authorizations. It adopts the concept of reflecting the electoral campaigns, as well as the rules of internal audit of the public broadcasters.

The Broadcasting Coordinating Council, ex-officio or upon receiving complaints from public authorities or from a physical or legal entity directly affected by the legal breach, has to examine them in 15 days and can gradually apply the following penalizing measures: public warning, temporary withdrawal of the right to broadcast advertisements, fine, temporary suspension of the license, and withdrawal of the broadcasting license.

The nine members of the Broadcasting Coordinating Council are appointed by the Parliament: three members for six years, three for four years and three for two years, and are sworn in to represent the public interest and not the authority that empowered them. However, the appointment of the members of the Broadcasting Coordinating Council was highly politicized; the regulatory body was biased towards the Communist Government (2005-2009) and was not objective when issuing licenses for channels. It favored pro-communist broadcasters in the detriment of other broadcasters and overlooked to apply correctly the legislation.

The broadcasting Code also institutes the Supervisory Board (Consiliul de Observatori - CO), which has as the main attribution to ensure that the national public broadcaster IPNA “Teleradio-Moldova” works in the public’s best interest. It is composed of nine members representing prominent figures in the fields of culture, art, cinematography, journalism, law, finance, PR, international relations, academia, and engineering. The Supervisory Board members are appointed by the Parliament and have the following main attributions: adopt the statute of the public broadcaster IPNA “Teleradio-Moldova”, approve the financial plan and the editorial policy of the national public broadcaster, and monitor its activity. The Supervisory Board also confirms the functions of the president of the public broadcaster, as well as the director of the national radio and television. In addition, upon the proposals from the Supervisory Board, the Broadcasting Coordinating Council can decide on the establishment, reorganization, and liquidation of the activities of the subdivisions of the national public broadcaster. Unfortunately, as in the case of the Broadcasting Coordinating Council, the Supervisory Board has not managed so far to be a truly independent authority, and acted numerously upon political influences. Currently, under the new coalition Government, there is a new chance for the Supervisory Board to become a truly professional body. Recently, the Supervisory Board has dismissed the president of the IPNA "Teleradio-Moldova" and the directors of TV Moldova 1 and Radio Moldova in an attempt to reform the public broadcaster.

In addition to the Broadcasting Code, other Moldova’s laws govern the broadcasting activities: Public Procurement Act, Advertising Act and Copyright Act.

The Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences at the State University of Moldova is the first higher education institution to teach journalism in Moldova. It dates back to 1969. It teaches the following modules: journalism, communication sciences, editorial activity, and biblioteconomy, informational assistance and archives. It has the biggest number of graduates in journalism, approximately 350 students.

The Department of Journalism and Public Communication at the Free International University of Moldova has been founded in 2001 in line with the Bologna Process requirements.

The same University opened in 2004 The Mass Media Institute at the Free International University of Moldova with the main objective of undertaking scientific research in the field of mass media and social communication. The Faculty of Journalism and Public Communication at the University of European Studies from Moldova has been founded in 2005. The Department of Journalism at the Slavonic University from Moldova teaches journalism in Russian language. It has approximately 60 students per year. The Journalism Department within the State University of Comrat teaches journalism to approximately 10/20 students from the Gagauz Autonomy.

Nonetheless, all the above institutions of higher education are still operating with limited human and financial resources and are struggling to keep up with the fast-paced new media emergence.

The Independent Journalism Centre was established in 1994 as an Open World House Project and became independent in 1998. It offers media trainings and legal assistance, organizes competitions, publishes a biannual analytical bulletin “Mass Media in the Republic of Moldova”, hosts the Press Club, and a library. The Chisinau School of Advanced Journalism is a graduate journalism program run since 2006 by the Independent Journalism Centre in Chisinau. It annually trains 20 journalists in a 10-month intensive course and is the only institution to instruct journalists using the latest methods in terms of technologies as well as with highly qualified experts and professionals in the field.

MediaPoint was founded in late 2009 with the aim to promote social innovation through new media products.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation and Internet was founded in July 2009 by the advertisement industry in order to offer information on newspapers circulation and Internet traffic, as well as carry out other media studies relevant for the advertisement transactions in the country. It currently numbers over 20 members.

The first challenge the media in Moldova faces relates to the need to transit from a not free to a free press in the internationally acknowledged rankings. With the country still struggling on the democracy path, the media follows closely these tendencies and will still undergo difficult times in the immediate future. These relate to getting rid of the Soviet traditions of political immixture in the editorial activity and self-censorship, improving media professionalism and standards, advancing on management and marketing skills, developing a truly public broadcaster and diminishing the overall media development gap existent between the urban and rural areas.

Achieving a stable political environment would attract inevitably internationally recognized media networks that would allow the Moldovan media landscape to prove its true pluralism by developing competing domestic nationwide media outlets.

Nonetheless, new technologies have created unprecedented opportunities that have already been seized by media outlets and new online projects have started producing platforms of fast and qualitative journalistic content.

Diana Lungu
Freelance Journalist
Chisinau, MD 2005, 76/6 Albisoara str., 63. apt., Moldova
Tel.: +31616606820
E-mail: lungudi@gmail.com