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Moldova should strive for more competitive, independent media, says OSCE media freedom representative

Moldova should strive for more competitive, independent media, says OSCE media freedom representative

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today urged the Moldovan authorities to put more effort into strengthening media freedom and pluralism of opinions in the country as she ended her three-day visit to Moldova.

“Progress toward safeguarding and enhancing a more vibrant media freedom environment should be fostered in Moldova,” Mijatović said. “The media should not suffer from political and economic interests impeding on their independence and sustainability. More efforts are needed by the government and media community to comply with international standards on free media and freedom of expression.”

During her visit the Representative met with the authorities, representatives of the broadcasting regulator, public service broadcasters, including from the autonomous territorial unit of Gagauzia, civil society and journalists from both banks of the Dniester/Nistru river.

Mijatović noted that a lack of transparency in media ownership, primarily in broadcasting media, concentration of the advertising market, slow digital switchover process and low public awareness about changes related to digitalization, as well as a weak and financially dependent public service broadcaster are among the most problematic media freedom areas that need to be dealt with in Moldova. The independence of the broadcasting regulator is another important issue to be closely examined by the Moldovan authorities.

“The regulatory authorities should be an active player in protecting public interests, ensuring plurality of opinions and regulating the broadcasters’ activities in a fair, unbiased and transparent manner. The autonomy of the Moldovan regulator should be strengthened in order to prevent possible arbitrary decision-making and silencing of alternative voices,” Mijatović said. 

Mijatović noted some positive signals from the authorities on their readiness to tackle challenges regarding media ownership and the digital switchover. She offered her Office’s assistance in providing expert recommendations, in line with OSCE media freedom commitments and best practices.

“I was pleased to learn about the growing Internet penetration and the evolution of online platforms as a new, open source of information for citizens. It is essential that Internet freedom continues to strive,” Mijatović said. 

“There is a need for immediate and comprehensive legislative reform and its effective implementation, in order to ensure the independence and professionalism of journalism, and to benefit from the emerging opportunities for media and public as a whole. The key to such process is a strong political will and constructive and transparent co-operation of government with civil society,” Mijatović said. 


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