[MD] Sanctions against Russian broadcasts
Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, Central European University (Budapest)
On 7 October 2014, the broadcast regulator of Moldova, the Council for Coordination on Audiovisual (CCA), following a complaint on the failure to observe the principles of political balance, impartiality and objectivity in newscasts of Russian origin, issued a decision which sanctioned several Moldovan companies that re-broadcast Russian TV newscasts and other programmes. In particular, “Teleproiect, SRL” was found to be an offender in relation to its functions as an affiliate of “REN-Moldova TV”, re-transmitting in Moldova broadcasts of Moscow’s REN-TV, as well as its own programming and commercials.
The particular sanction was caused by a complaint of the NGO APOLLO that the newscast “Svobodnoye vremya” on 9 September 2014 was “misinforming and distorting the developments in Ukraine, presenting exclusively the viewpoint of the Donbas region separatists”. The complaint recalled that an earlier monitoring report by the CCA of “REN-Moldova TV” found violations of Article 7 (“Political and social balance and pluralism”) paragraph 4, b) and c), as well as Article 10 (“Rights of Program Consumer”), paragraph 5 of the Audiovisual Code (See IRIS 2006-9/27).
The CCA agreed with the complaint and decided to suspend the right of “Teleproiect, SRL” to broadcast commercials for 72 hours, as this was not their first violation of the law. Other offenders were fined to the amount of Leu 5400 (approximately EUR 280) each.
Teleproiect appealed the decision, but the CCA confirmed it again on 5 November 2014. Teleproiect then took the complaint to court. In December, the judge, in order to secure the claim and avoid the increasing complexity of the case, ruled to grant the suspension of the CCA decision. The merits of the contested decision are still to be verified by the court.
- Consiliul Coordonator al Audiovizualului. Decizie Nr. 135, 07.10.2014 cu privire la respectarea principiului echilibrului social-politic, echidistanţei şi obiectivităţii în cadrul emisiunilor informative “Время”, “Сегодня”, “Вести” şi “Новости 24” transmise din Federaţia Rusăde către posturile de televiziune “Prime”, “TV 7”, “RTR Moldova” şi “Ren Moldova”, inclusiv secvenţele serviciilor de programe menţionateîn sesizările AO ”APOLLO” nr. 627, 628 din 08.07.2014 şi nr. 642, 643 din 23.09.2014.
- Consiliul Coordonator al Audiovizualului. Decizie Nr. 168, 14.11.2014 cu privire la examinarea cererii prealabile a „TELEPROIECT” SRL
This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.