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Implementation of Moldovan broadcasting bill criticized by OSCE ambassador

The OSCE ambassador to Moldova, Louis O'Neill, on February 19 issued a statement expressing concern about a range of "negative developments" in Moldova’s broadcasting landscape. O'Neill said that though the Broadcasting Code adopted in 2006 created "an excellent opportunity for real progress, this chance may be lost due to missteps in the way the new legislation is being implemented."

One concern relates to the transformation of the municipal broadcasters Radio Antena-C and Euro-TV Chisinau into private companies. The OSCE said that in December 2006 it had urged the new owners to ensure there would be no reduction in the country's media landscape and no reduction in access to full and impartial information.

"The immediate reduction in news and information programming at Antena-C and the change in its broadcasting schedule following privatization, as well as the decision by its new owner to drastically reduce the number of journalists, show a disregard for these recommendations," O'Neill said.

The OSCE ambassador also criticized the pace of reforms at Moldova's national public broadcaster, saying that "Teleradio Moldova has made almost no progress towards becoming a truly independent public-service broadcaster since its formal transformation in August 2004."

Another issue raised was the transparency of the licensing process. This followed the recent award of a license to a new company, rather than to the incumbent license-holder.