Moldovan TV News Loses License after Claims of Bias

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Moldovan TV station NIT lost its broadcast license after being accused of bias, Reuters reported.

Reuters described NIT as “pro-communist” and noted it “has often criticised the ruling Alliance for European Integration, a group of pro-Western parties that came to power after defeating the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova in 2009.”

Because of the bias claims, Moldovan government regulator Coordinating Council of Moldova took away the station’s license, according to Reuters.  Radio Europa Libera added “appeals to social unrest , ethnic hatred and neglect” to the claims against NIT.

NIT confirmed the suspension with a brief April 6 post on its website reading that it has to “suspend broadcasting from today pending a decision by the courts” and that it “will definitely return.”

According to Romanian newspaper Adevarul, the Independent Press Association executive director Peter Macovei called the station “an ideological tool of a party” and “not a media institution.” The Independent Press Association identifies itself as a “member of the World Association of Newspapers” and a Moldovan group that unites “the politically non-affiliated press.”

Reuters explained that media outlets must follow “political and social pluralism” and give “equal air time” to both “sides in any conflict” under the country’s law.

Adevarul added that NIT plans to appeal.

Moldova Press Council president Ludmila Andronic told iMediaEthics that “the Broadcasting Coordination Council has complied with all legal steps to cancel the license” of NIT.  She explained: “TV frequencies are the property of taxpayers and, therefore recipients must use them for fair and balanced information provided to the audiences.”

Andronic added that NIT has “nothing to do with ethics” and “a television does not inform, but manipulating, without the slightest dose of pluralism, not to speak of objectivity.”

We have written to NIT and the Independent Press Association for comment and will update with any response.

More on the Press Council

We asked more about the Moldova Press Council and its work.  Andronic explained that the council is a “self-regulatory body” and only handles complaints in terms of ethics and not “legal procedures.”  She noted that the council won’t handle complaints that are in court or may go to court.  According to  Andronic, “when a complaint is filed, the author undertakes not to resort to court during the examination.”

We also asked what some of the bigger ethical issues are in Moldovan media.  According to Andronic, the “most common” areas of complaints include “child protection and protection of victims, particularly victims of violence.”

As Andronic explained: “Unfortunately, in their desire to increase audiences, the press forgets about the need to protect by all means the identity of minors and the victims and also forget about the presumption of innocence.”

Other areas of complaint include “copyright infringement and the denial of right of reply.”

When dealing with complaints, the council sets up a group to work with both the media and the complainant in resolving the issue.  Some ways of resolving complaints tend to include offering “right to reply” or unpublishing the content in question.  “If no agreement is reached and we believe that the press is guilty, a special release is posted on our website and may be republished by any media,” Andronic wrote.

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Moldovan TV News Loses License after Claims of Bias

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