"Scandal with Morari" and Plans to Redistribute the National Media Market

Home / Analytics / "Scandal with Morari" and Plans to Redistribute the National Media Market
Sergiu Ceban
If we omit the emotional aspects of the “Platon-Morari” story, the scandal can be considered a signal of the upcoming reformatting of the country's media field by the new government in order to obtain greater “transparency”, but in fact more “control” over this important sphere
Last week, a real “info-bomb” exploded in the media space of Moldova. It’s the revelations of the well-known Moldovan journalist Natalia Morari about the father of the child she gave birth to a few months ago being a disreputable fugitive businessman Veaceslav Platon, also referred to by the media as a “raider No. 1 in the CIS area”. On September 8, Natalia Morari posted on her Facebook page that she had to make a very difficult, but the only right decision for herself, as she was constantly being blackmailed by employees of the Moldovan special services, who allegedly possessed some juicy details of her relationship with Platon. In order not to endanger her “first child” – the TV-8 channel – the TV host decided to take a break and quit the project, but at the same time promised to return to the air with a new talk show. Veaceslav Platon, for his part, stated that personal relationship in this story is a matter of two free adults, and the child should not be part of any long-term plans. At the same time, the exposed father wished good health and happiness to the baby, and was much colder in his statements about the mother emphasizing that Morari still works for the main embassy in Chisinau. The first storm-waves of the scandal that has swept everyone are interpreted for the most part as a powerful blow to the reputation for any independent journalism in Moldova and, above all, to the only television project that has a vivid external correlation – the TV-8 channel. It is known that the channel is not connected to local media holdings and was carefully nurtured with Western funds and embassy grants. At the same time, the editorial group formed its own unique information agenda, and during the pre-election period, it was open about its proclivities and actively backed the current party in power on its path to the political top. At first glance, the story is quite clear and nothing beyond the expectations happened. At least for the simple reason that it is not the first time when Natalia Morari is in the spotlight of a scandal related to her personal life or relationship with famous personalities from the Moldovan political beau monde. This, admittedly, only increased her popularity and professional demand along with it. Nevertheless, a closer examination would help notice a certain consistency in the development of events and a number of mismatches indicating that everything happened not so accidentally and according to a deliberate well-thought plan. First of all, it is difficult to believe that the new Moldovan government and the key embassies in Chisinau, with whom Natalia Morari is known to be on a short footing, could not protect the top TV presenter of one of the drivers and architects of modern pro-Western journalism in Moldova from the “evil Moldovan security officers”. Moreover, there is no doubt that no one forced Natalia to reveal the details of her personal life and unknown “blackmailers” would hardly have found convincing evidence of her relationship with Platon. Therefore, any speculation and raw dirt could easily be neutralized and soon completely forgotten. Unfortunately, all this looks like a pre-planned information special operation. It all started with the fact that the former Romanian MP Cristian Rizea, not once caught stealing, hiding from justice in Moldova and obviously leashed by the Moldovan special services, has started to publish video messages for the journalist, insinuating her intimate relationship with Platon. Along with this, the Telegram channel “Mamalyga & Tokana”, close to the special services of Moldova, played its part, this time broadcasting topics targeting Platon, including the one of his fatherhood. Judging by the way the mentioned Telegram channel and other media resources keep on hyping and warming up the audience's interest in this whole strange case, building various assumptions, increasing the conspiracy of this orchestrated scandal, as if the Platon-Morari couple are practically getting ready to launch a family political project, it seems that the authors of this resonant story are trying to make the most out of it and keep it on the news as long as possible. There is a hypothesis that Natalia Morari waited for the right moment and it was not by chance at all that she made no statements during the pre-election period - first of all, so as not to compromise Maia Sanda and the Action and Solidarity party and not to lead them astray on the path to great victory. In addition, the journalist waited for the moment when the new authorities would begin appointments to key positions in the government, awaiting a personal offer, as they say, "for services to the fatherland" which, apparently, did not follow. As a result, Morari decided to play out a certain plan and loudly slam the door. However, the version about a joint information operation with the new government seems to make the most sense. It has become vital for the current Moldovan leadership at the current stage to properly shake things up in the media field in order to refocus the public attention elsewhere. A series of blunders by the government and parliament over the past weeks, scandals around PCR tests for teachers and the manual removal of the prosecutor general have fostered a high concentration of negative content that the rating of the president and the Action and Solidarity began to plummet. In addition, the current Moldovan leadership is clearly aware that without solid media support and reliance on loyal media, political prospects will be significantly reduced. For this reason, we will most likely witness a serious regrouping of information resources on the Moldovan media market in the coming period, as well as the new television channels and projects emerging. It should not be ruled out that an experienced journalist and manager Ms. Morari may be gone from the blue screen for a while, but join the group of top managers who will shape and ensure the successful functioning of the new government's media holding.