The head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Moldova, Janis Mazeiks, commented on the decision of the Commission for Emergency Situation (CES) to suspend the broadcasting license of 6 TV channels during the state of emergency.
“This situation is similar to the one in 2022, when the broadcasting license of the other 6 TV channels was suspended at the end of the year.
There is an important component - democracy - on the basis of which the media can operate freely, but at the same time certain restrictions may be imposed on their activities that are necessary in a democratic society. The CES decision is concise, and now we have to analyze the details to understand exactly how the decision was taken, to what extent the Broadcasting Council was involved, whether there were fines, warnings regarding the activities of these channels, and what were the national security considerations that were invoked in the decision. There is probably some information that won’t surface public,” said Janis Mazeiks.
We recall that on 30 October the CES approved new measures to protect the national information space. Thus, at the CES proposal, the broadcasting license of 6 TV channels was suspended during the state of emergency. According to the decision, “the SIS report shows that these TV channels are subordinated to the criminal groups of Shor and Plahotniuc, who act in tandem through intermediaries to destabilize the situation in Moldova. These TV channels are financed through various vague schemes based on partnerships concluded with individuals inscribed in the international sanction lists”.
The chairwoman of the Broadcasting Council, Liliana Vitu, said that the institution only informed the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) about the violations committed by the 6 TV channels, but did not propose to suspend their activity. At the same time, the people’s lawyer expressed concern about the suspension of 6 TV channels and the blocking of 31 websites, 21 of which are allegedly controlled by Moscow. Thus, Czeslaw Panko argues that the implementation of mechanisms to counter threats to the security of the national information space can take place only if international standards are observed without prejudice to the freedom of the press.