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30 April 2017
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Interviews

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

Report 4, Monitoring Mass Media during the Campaign for Local General Elections of 5 June 2011: Case study no. 1

NIT, Curier, 10 June 2011, 20:00, minute 09:50
Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent, 22 June 2011, 15:03

Reporter: Sergiu Strungaru

NIT, a station with national coverage, included in its newscast of 10 June a 4.05-minute-long item titled "The meeting of losers", which covered the subject of the expected visit to Chisinau of the American Senator John McCain, ex-candidate for the US presidency. Although it appeared in a newscast, the item is rather an attempt to analyze the American influence and implications in Moldovan policy, based on the statements of anonymous experts. Contrary to deontological norms, the reporter acted as an expert, commenting and making assessments, being obviously biased, providing information from a single perspective, using video and sound to manipulate with public opinion. In the end, with reference to unnamed sources, the author concludes that "some analysts are increasingly persuaded that Moldova is being transformed into an American colony".

"The meeting of losers. On Sunday, Marian Lupu and Vladimir Filat, who had modest results in the local elections of 5 June, are receiving the visit of the American Senator John McCain, who lost the election for the US presidency in 2008", announced the presenter in the studio, specifying that "it is not yet known what the three will be discussing, but this visit is in line with the current government's policy of coordinating their actions with American officials". Thus, from the start NIT viewers were provided not with objective information/news about the American Senator's visit to Chisinau, but with an assessment of this visit from the perspective of the presumption that the current government is serving foreign interests.

The reporter began with the statement that "Moldova remains an American target", reminding viewers that in March Chisinau had been visited "for inspection" by the Vice President of the US, Joe Biden, who praised the governing alliance and said that Moldova is a success story of democracy. "The American envoy was not really convincing. Biden cannot know that since the Alliance came to power, Moldova has been transformed into a horror story...", said the reporter, further presenting "facts" that are at the very least erroneous, if not false: "...with dozens of social and investment projects blocked, with frozen salaries and pensions, with uncontrolled increase of prices, with liquidation of schools, with massive waves of criminality", while videos showed poor, homeless people, banners and protesting people. Thus, NIT violated deontological norms and the Broadcasting Code, which provides that it is the broadcasters' obligation to place every news item into informative programs, so that: "a) the information behind the news item to be true; b) to not deform the sense of reality by montage, comments, formulation or titles" (Article 7).

To prove that the government is ruled from outside the author of the material reminded viewers about disagreements inside the governing alliance, which was stated to be close to dissolution, "because of oligarchic interests" during the examination of the state budget, before "Americans reentered the game". NIT repeated the declarations made in the Parliament of Moldova on 26 March this year, including those of the PCRM leader, Vladimir Voronin, who said that "last night they had a last consultation at the said Embassy and received the corresponding indications to vote...". As "proof" of the supposition that the current administration of the country receives indications "from Americans", the TV station presented archive videos depicting the car of the country's interim president, with the reporter mentioning that "Marian Lupu was seen at 7 in the morning leaving the residence of the American Ambassador in an official car".

Further, the videos broadcast by NIT showed the US Ambassador climbing the stairs of the Palace of the Republic, while the author of the material asked a rhetorical question: "After this a question appeared: who in fact governs Moldova and who dictates rules to these people?" In the context of Senator McCain's visit on Sunday, 12 June, the reporter again made reference to "analysts", without naming them, who allegedly stressed that the meeting was that of "political losers", reminding that McCain lost the presidential elections in the US to Barack Obama, and "on the other hand, Marian Lupu suffered a devastating defeat in Chisinau, gathering on 5 June 3% of the citizens' trust. The same is true for Vladimir Filat, who lost in Chisinau half of his supporters". This statement is exaggerated and speculating since neither Marian Lupu, nor Vlad Filat ran for elective positions in local elections.

At the end of the material the reporter again made reference to anonymous sources and concluded that "some analysts are increasingly persuaded that Moldova has been transformed into an American colony", with the background of a suggestive melody and videos depicting on the one hand miserable and poor people, and on the other hand - Senator McCain laughing and the PL leader Mihai Ghimpu yawning at a Parliament session, as well as other leaders of the governing alliance in situations showing their contentment. Such a video montage clearly indicates the author's, as well as the station's, intention to transmit a manipulating and propagandistic message.

 



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