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News / Political

26 Mar. 2020 / 16:04

PAS filed a complaint with the President of the Audiovisual Council to the General Prosecutor's Office

The decision issued by the Audiovisual Council, which states that journalists must refrain from criticizing the authorities during the state of emergency, is condemned both by journalists and by some politicians. They assert that in fact, the decision impedes the right to expression. Contacted by Moldova 1, the president of the CA, Dragoş Vicol, did not answer the phone to comment on the situation. Meanwhile, the head of state says the decision should be reviewed, and the Action and Solidarity Party has filed a complaint with the General Prosecutor's Office against the head of the CA, Dragoş Vicol, reports Moldova 1.

In a Facebook post, PAS leader Maia Sandu claims that the provision issued by the CA is unlawful and defiant. She argues that the Audiovisual Council has censored all television stations and asks those responsible to review this decision. 

"It is illegal and defiant for the President of the Audiovisual Council to de facto introduce censorship on all the television stations in the country. Freedom of thought, opinion and expression are elements that cannot be restricted during times of emergency, siege or war. The more objective the information provided to the general public will be, the higher our chances of escaping the emergency. We demand that the respective decisions be reviewed as soon as possible and that they return to the field of legality,” declared the PAS leader, Maia Sandu.

The director of the Independent Journalism Center, Nadine Gogu, also asserts that the CA's decision is abusive and violates the rights of journalists.

"We consider that this decision of the Board contains some provisions that are abusive and may lead to the limitation of the freedom of expression of the media, but also to the reduction of the pluralism of sources, to the diversity of sources, journalists and citizens. We do not think it is right for this regulatory authority in audiovisual to come with such restrictions from the sources they should cite," said CJI director Nadine Gogu.

The head of state, Igor Dodon states that the decision of the Audiovisual Council regarding the activity of the press during the emergency period is unjustified. The President added that the Board should review its decision.

"We must respect the freedom of the press and the press is the fourth power in the state. In my opinion, it is not justified at least in this regard and I would recommend that they review this decision because it misleads, including public opinion. I think the formulations need to be revised because they are not fair to the press,” President Igor Dodon told a television show.

Contacted by Moldova 1, the president of the CA, Dragoş Vicol, did not answer the phone to comment on the accusations.

TRM.MD recalls that, the Audiovisual Council has issued a provision for media service providers, which indicates to journalists how to reflect on COVID-19 topics. Specifically, the institution asks journalists to refrain from criticizing the authorities during the state of emergency. Moreover, they want the only sources of information to be public authorities and international organizations, namely the World Health Organization. On Monday, the Commission for Exceptional Situations decided by way of derogation from the Code of Audiovisual Media Services that the CA meetings should be deliberative with the presence of four members, and the decisions be adopted with the vote of the majority of the members.

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