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19 October 2019
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Gheorghe Russu

Vice-director, The Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption

Parties-Phantoms, Parties - State Institutions, Parties - State Enterprises

Ion PREAŞCĂ

20 parties have registered in the current election campaign. Many people say it is a too big number for such a small country as Moldova. At the same time, much more parties could take part in the election campaign.

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Activists launch Moldova’s first ‘Space Camp’ © Susan Coughtrie

Monitoring Mass Media during the Campaign for Local General Elections of 5 June 2011: Case study No.3

Moldova Suverană, 27 April 2011, No. 59 (1081)
Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent, 18 May 2011, 12:39

"Fraudulent funding schemes of the Liberal Party and misappropriation of public funds through municipal structures," registered by Vlad Loghin

In its issue of Wednesday, 27 April 2011, the newspaper Moldova Suverană published the article Fraudulent Funding Schemes of the Liberal Party and Misappropriation of Public Funds Through Municipal Structures" with the upper title "Capital's Budget at the Mercy of Chirtoacă and Ghimpu Clan". The item starts on the front page and is accompanied by a photograph from the church showing the Liberal Party leaders M. Ghimpu, D. Chirtoacă, V. Munteanu etc. and continues on the following page, accompanied by other three photographs, including that of the PLDM advertising board "Vote for Victor BODIU MAYOR!", next to other two showing stray dogs and full garbage cans. As journalistic style, the text seems to be an analysis on the topics of public funds management in Chişinău.

As the only source of information for the story is announced "the economic analyst Victor Gurău," on whose behalf a statement is made that in Chişinău there took place "a huge number of acts of corruption," „under the ‘robe' of the general mayor, with his involvement and that of his uncle." The reporter says that Dorin Chirtoacă organized "dissipation" and "orgies" in the mayor's office building (with reference to the pictures from the birthday party of the general mayor) and makes it clear that the public structures in Chişinău serve "as a screen that covers the unclean activities of certain hypocrite leaders, even wretched in their Pharisaism." Also, allegations are brought that the PL leaders Dorin Chirtoacă and Mihai Ghimpu pursue their personal and party interests and resort to misuse of power and arrange ‘dubious', ‘dirty' and ‘fraudulent' schemes, ‘money laundering business' for funding the party from public funds and from the city budget. The author resorts to speculations such as "It is not excluded that a big part of the money invested from the capital's budget was used for the electoral campaign of the Liberal Party" (in the context of reconstruction of Alba Iulia street, about which the author says that the investment "was directed from the beginning, i.e. from the announcement of the public tender and until execution by the people of this party") or "It is about the daily huge flows of water from the water pipe that we, the capital residents, pay for and that are not accounted; the tens and hundreds of millions of lei resulted from the payments of the consumers are used to fund PL" (about the obligation to install water meters by "Apă Canal"), or "It seems that Dorin Chirtoacă resorts also to blackmailing for the sake of strengthening the financial support of his party and that of his uncle" (location of the booths of Cebacot company) etc.

The article analyzed does not observe the professional principle of presumption of innocence or in such an item it was mandatory to ask the opinion of those accused of fraudulent fund management. Also, no clear delimitation is made between facts and the opinions of the journalist who registered the item or of the "economic analyst" Victor Gurău. The allegations of misuse of power, money laundering and illegal funding are very serious but the article does not contain evidence that would prove the allegations, they being based exclusively on the value judgments of the source stated for the article. The ethical standards and journalistic good practices oblige journalists to check the facts from a number of sources independent from each other.

The article analyzed puts labels on the persons to whom it refers and contained certain insulting expressions (see the examples above). At a certain point, it says about the councilor Oleg Cernei that he is "an extremely flattering and disgusting mouthpiece of Mayor Dorin Chirtoacă."

The images selected for publication bear a character of informational manipulation. The text on the second page is illustrated with the image of the PLDM advertising billboard and does not have direct connection with the text about the supposed "fraudulent funding schemes" of another party - PL. In such way, the newspaper makes it clear that another governing party or the governance as a whole is involved in such schemes. This conclusion becomes clear also at the end of the article when Chisinau residents are recommended "to be careful in regard to the candidates who aspire to the mayor's office management, to pay attention to what they do during the electoral campaign, to the praises they make because there are three big problems in the city: the dogs, the holes and the idiots. Dog packs have not disappeared. The holes are still there, although a lot of money has been invested, and we risk becoming the idiots because they leave us blank, i.e. they dupe us and do not do anything!"

In conclusion, the article Fraudulent Funding Schemes of the Liberal Party and Misappropriation of Public Funds through the Municipal Structures is an electoral anti-advertising item that uses techniques for manipulating the public opinion and seriously violates the ethical and professional standards of responsible journalism.

References:

1. http://www.moldova-suverana.md/politic/1566-bugetul-capitalei-la-cheremul-clanului-chirtoac-ghimpu.html

 



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