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Journalists continued to be threatened while informing citizens, Memo

The freedom of the press in the Republic of Moldova the past year continued to be confronted by multiple challenges. The legal framework was insufficiently amended for stimulating the activity of the press, while the journalists continued to face threats and intimidation while informing the citizens about events of public interest. This is one of the conclusions of the Memo on the freedom of the press in the Republic of Moldova for May 3, 2021 – May 3, 2022 that was launched on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, IPN reports.

The Memo was compiled by the Independent Journalism Center and another six nongovernmental media organizations. According to this, the information space of the Republic of Moldova continues to be exposed to major security risks, being flooded with foreign media products, especially from the Russian Federation, a part of which are evidently toxic and manipulative. The COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the energy crisis and the military aggression supplemented the list of traditional subjects preferred for fake news and disinformation.

After Russia started the war against Ukraine, the Moldovan authorities during the state of emergency took restrictive measures in relation to the toxic media and propagandistic products of the aggressor state. These actions were late as the population of the Republic of Moldova was already symptomatic, the effects of the systemic disinformation on the part of Russia being hard to counteract. The efforts made by the lawmakers to contain the spread of false information that affects the information security of the state haven’t yet generated palpable results, the bills being at an intermediary lawmaking stage.

The inadequate implementation of the legislation on access to information continued to be a major problem for the press. When, how and in what conditions the authorities should keep away information from the press is another dilemma.

In the period, the lawmakers focused mainly on audiovisual legislation and the legislative amendments that refer to the appointment and dismissal of members of the Audiovisual Council and the senior administration of the public media service provider generated criticism on the part of national and international media experts. The work of media outlets and journalists, primarily from the independent press, was disrupted by multiple acts of intimidation and threats that came primarily from political players.

The national legislation was insufficient for responding to the necessities of regulating the activity of the media. The regulation of areas that refer to the print and online media remained defective and insufficient. The precarious legal norms that regulate the legal regime of ownership of media outlets hamper the monitoring, prevention and counteracting of anticorruption practices, says the Memo.

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