In 2014 the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) team has continued to provide useful and interesting activities for journalists. Journalists from local and national press participated in several training programs on such topics as balanced media coverage of gender issues, and professional and accurate coverage of public interest issues. As in previous years, IJC provided support to journalists working in the Transnistrian region and in UTA Gagauz-Yeri, by involving them in various internship and training programs, and joint projects.
In 2014 IJC extended its scope of activity through a project intended exclusively for media consumers which promotes media literacy among young people. Over 600 pupils and students attended media literacy lessons held in Chișinău, Ialoveni, Criuleni, Anenii-noi, Leova, Hâncești, Nisporeni, Căușeni, and other localities.
IJC has continued to organize the traditional Press Club meetings, bringing together journalists, students, civil society and general public representatives to discuss about European Integration process and its meaning to our country.
The Policies and Media Law Department has constantly monitored media law developments as well as abuses against media representatives and, in serious cases, it took a stance by issuing declarations. Furthermore, IJC provided free legal assistance to media outlets and journalists. The department also provided training for journalists about legal issues on the access of public interest information. Six legal bulletins were issued, aiming to keep journalists and media outlets updated about the most recent amendments to media law.
In the research segment, IJC prepared and launched the 2013 Media Landscape and three Media Freedom Index in Eastern Partnership countries. Furthermore, together with other media organizations, IJC monitored media behavior during elections.
Media Azi and Research Department followed national and international media events that occurred during the year. These were covered in news items, comments and interviews posted on Media Azi portal. The stories primarily focused on media issues brought forward by IJC in 2014, including transparency of media ownership, journalists access to the Parliament plenary meeting hall, discussions of draft laws on the amendment of Broadcasting Code, promotion of free access to information and press freedom. Since May, Media Azi portal opened a new comments column on the compliance of European standards with respect to national media.
The team of Advocacy and Production Department produced several video projects available on Media Azi portal. These video spots brought to the forefront women's success stories in Moldova, promoted the idea of European integration, covered certain issues currently faced by the society.
As well in 2014, IJC organized two traditional events aimed at increasing solidarity among journalists, protection of press freedom and promotion of quality journalism - Press Freedom Days (in May) and the Annual Gala of the Press Club, an event where journalists of the year were awarded (December).
Also this year, IJC issued the journal Mass-Media in Moldova, the only biannual analytical publication that tackles media matters since 1995.
In 2014 the Chisinau School of Advanced Journalism (CSAJ) has continued to bring up journalists; during the 2014-2015 study year 13 students were enrolled. In June, the School's eighth class joined the editorial teams of various national media outlets, including TV channels PRO TV, Jurnal TV and Realitatea TV, Radio Free Europe, Ziarul de Gardă, Timpul, Unimedia.
For the prospective students of 2014-1015, several promotion activities were organized, including the traditional Admission Caravan and video spots aired on several national radio and TV channels. Thus, CSAJ team carried out several promotional visits to Universities of Bălţi, Cahul and Comrat. A commission made of CSAJ trainers and media managers reviewed applications submitted by candidates, the shortlisting was followed by an admission exam, and an interview.
As a result, for the academic year 2014-2015, 13 students from Chișinău, and other districts, including Leova, Sângerei and Bălți were admitted. The average age of the students is 25. The students of the new CSAJ class have various academic backgrounds, including bachelor and master degrees in marketing, sociology, public relations, international relations and European integration, obtained in Moldova, Romania and Italy. Most of them have a wide experience of volunteering at various national organizations, such as Young Journalist Center in Moldova, IDIS Viitorul, Hyde Park. For 10 months, students take advantage of intense professional training and have the opportunity to acquire both theoretical and practical journalistic skills, learning and working in a newsroom environment.
On the first study day, September 1, 2014, future journalists were welcomed by CSAJ trainers - Dumitru Marian and Vasile Botnaru. They wished students patience, courage, perseverance, accuracy and dedication to future profession. Traditionally, on the first study day, a meeting between current and previous CSAJ students took place. The graduates of 2013-2014 class shared their experience with their new colleagues, and gave them advice on how to overcome the difficulties awaiting them during their studies and during their future employment.
The 2014-2015 study year commenced with Introduction in Journalism course (1-3 September), taught by Vasile Botnaru, Chief of the Chişinău Bureau of the Radio Free Europe (RFE). The students had the opportunity to learn such concepts as objectivity, impartiality, and fairness - the fundamental principles of quality journalism. Special attention was paid to sources and working techniques of writing journalistic materials.
The next course, News Items (4-12 September) was moderated by Vitalie Dogaru, Talk Show Host at Publika TV, and Diana Răilean, RFE reporter and CSAJ graduate. For one week, trainers taught students about news structure, lead, how to work with sources, and background. Most of students appreciated the practical value of the course, they wrote news items and did fieldwork. The next few days were dedicated to Photojournalism course (15-19 September) led by Nicolae Pojoga. During this course, students learned how to use editing programs, especially Photoshop, ethical principles a journalist must take into account when taking photos, and information to include in an image caption. After theoretical classes, students prepared their final works in Coloniţa village, Chişinău district.
Students learned about the Ethical Code of Journalists in Moldova and other relevant documents concerning professional ethics and deontology during the course Ethics and Diversity in Mass Media, taught by Nadine Gogu, IJC Director, and Petru Macovei, Independent Press Association (IPA) Executive Director. During the course Media Law, taught by lawyer Tatiana Puiu, students got to know such concepts as freedom of expression, access to information, copyrights, and neighboring rights.
The next two months of the curriculum included the following specialized courses: The Interview (22-25 September) taught by Vitalie Dogaru, Talk Show Host at Publika TV and Long Articles (29 September - 7 October) with Alina Radu, Director of the weekly Ziarul de Gardă. Subsequently, during the next three weeks, students learned how to write news items and radio reports. Liliana Barbăroşie (Radio Free Europe) and Liliana Nicolae (Radio România Actualităţi) imparted their theoretical and practical experience. During the course Radio News Room (14 October - 6 November) with Vasile Botnaru (Radio Free Europe), students were involved in producing several news bulletins. According to students' assessment, the last week of the course Radio Journalism was the most difficult one, it was also the most productive and interesting one. Several students noted that they liked working at the radio, and they found this activity very interesting.
The first semester of 2014–2015 concluded with the course Online Journalism (8-19 December). For two weeks, students developed their basic skills in online work. Liliana Barbăroșie, RFE reporter, told students about the specifics of online news, photo gallery technique, and differences among print, radio, and TV journalism. Further, Tatiana Ețco, freelance journalist, taught them how to use multimedia online tools on various online platforms.
A professional journalist should master Romanian language grammar, therefore, beginning with October, the CSAJ students met twice a week Cristina Mogâldea, Head of IJC Media Azi and Research Department in the course on Stylistics. The students analyzed grammar errors in their written materials and learned how to correct them.
In December, sixteen students and graduates of CSAJ were trained in open data journalism. The three day training enabled participants to search, process and use various types of data, receive public interest information in compliance with professional journalism principle. The second edition of Data Journalism Camp was facilitated by Paul Radu, RISE Project (Romania), and Dumitru Lazur, media expert (Moldova).
Monthly, apart from the basic courses, CSAJ students met with experts, ambassadors, politicians, activists within the Discussion Clubs to tackle and debate various issues. In 2014 the Discussion Clubs were dedicated to European Union theme. Thus, from October to December 2014, students met ambassadors of various EU member states to Moldova, and discussed about their experience and pathway towards European accession and integration as well as about the activity of the EU member states embassies to Moldova. Among the guests were: Head of OSCE Mission to Moldova, the Ambassador Michael Scanlan; the Ambassador of Hungary to Moldova, Mátyás Szilágyi; the Ambassador of Romania to Moldova, Marius Lazurca.
The Chisinau School of Advanced Journalism was launched on September 4, 2006, in view of training professional journalists for media outlets in Moldova. Since 2006 and until now, 90 young journalists have graduated from this institution. Most of them are employed with Moldovan media: Radio Free Europe, TV Moldova 1, PRO TV Chișinău, Jurnal TV, Ziarul de Gardă, Publika TV, Canal2, Radio Chișinău, Ziarul Național, Evenimentul Zilei. For more details about CSAJ, please check its website www.scoaladejurnalism.md.
Similar to previous years, in 2014 IJC provided a variety of training options in line with new trends in media and according to journalists needs.
Media Reporting on Gender
In 2014, IJC resumed its efforts to improve women`s images in media as part of a project launched in 2013 , involving various strategic players, including university professors, civil society experts and journalists.
As a result of attending two workshops (22-23 November 2013 and 20-21 February 2014), a team of lecturers from Moldova State University, Free International University, Slavonic University, Bălţi State University, and European Studies University designed 5 university curricula on "Balanced Approach to Gender in Media". These curricula cover the notions related to gender, strategies of balanced media coverage of gender, and paradigm of gender equality. According to Daniela Terzi-Barbăroşie, gender issues expert, it is important that journalism students correctly perceive such notions as “sex” and “gender” as well as to become used to working with statistical studies and research in this field.
In terms of usability of these university programs, Lilia Raciula and Diana Vrabie, professors of journalism at Bălţi State University, mentioned that they introduced this course into the category of optionals, and students will have the opportunity to learn notions related to gender, including gender identity, principle of meritocracy, equality and equity.
As part of the same project, 17 journalists had the opportunity to attend two training workshops (March 28-29 and April 11, 2014) entitled Balanced Coverage of Topics about Men and Women in Media. The program trainer, Daniela Terzi-Barbăroșie and special guests (Alina Radu, Director of Ziarul de Gardă newspaper and Catinca Mardarovici, Women’s Political Club 50/50), helped participants to discover their own stereotypes and find solutions and ideas to overcome them; they also suggested journalists to include into their contact lists the contacts of women experts and encouraged them to produce materials that quote both men and women as sources.
Further, journalists have continued their work beyond the training room, they prepared journalistic materials that covered in a professional and honest-minded way gender equality issues and certain discriminatory attitudes, entrenched in society, related to men and women. As a result, in July 2014, IJC issued the publication “Gender Equality: Stereotype and Truth”. It contains 15 stories that present life stories of several women and men, representing successful examples in areas considered to be strictly for men or for women.
Journalists involved in the project welcomed this initiative. "Stereotypes like" man is the head of the family and the big boss”, "woman's place is in the kitchen” etc. are still entrenched in our society. This puts the woman on the back burner, whereas now we need and it is time to keep pace with reality. The practice shows that women are dealing quite well with areas that are considered purely for men, while men manage to successfully assert themselves in professions, assigned, by stereotype, only to women,” said Tatiana Mitrofan, reporter of Observatorul de Nord.
In order to help journalists to identify and promote women with relevant professional experience in their journalistic materials, IJC created a database of contacts of several female experts in various fields of activity, including economics, medicine, ecology, public administration, human right, and psychology. IJC encourages journalists to use this database to document themselves and, in this way, to balance the visibility of women and men in media.
All these results were accomplished by IJC team as part of Changing the Perception of Women in Moldovan Society through Media Project implemented by the IJC between September 2013 and September 2014 with the financial support of the Netherlands Embassy through the MATRA Program.
Assistance and Training for Journalists from UTA Gagauz-Yeri and Transnistrian Region
IJC is one of the first NGOs that began collaborating with journalists from Transnistrian region. This hasn't changed in 2014, several journalists from Transnistrian region participated in different activities aimed at facilitating communication between journalists, partners and media organizations on both banks of the Nistru River.
Internship Program for Journalists fromTransnistrian Region and UTA Gagauz-Yeri
Publika TV, MIR, Radio Moldova, editorial offices of Panorama and Moldavskie Vedomosti hosted six students, young journalists and reporters willing to refresh their technical skills of writing news items and reports of public interest. Thus, from February to October 2014, interns from Transnistrian region and UTA Gagauz Yeri established new cooperation links with their colleagues in Chişinău, and exchanged experience in a friendly professional environment. Interns learned more about journalistic principles, such as objectivity, transparency, balance and pluralism of sources; conducted practical activities both in newsrooms and on the site, and discovered new aspects form work experience of journalists from Chișinău.
Both journalists-interns and hosting media institutions found this experience useful, as they learned a lot and got the chance to strengthen collaboration between journalists from different localities of the Republic of Moldova.
Ala Chiosea, who had her internship at Radio Moldova, said: "This experience gave me the opportunity to observe and analyze a different style of preparing radio materials, voice recording, text editing, and selection of events which can be covered."
Irina Pineghina, Moldavskie Vedomosti intern, emphasized that the five days in the editorial office helped improving her writing skills and better understand the political, social and economic context of the country in order to write complex materials and show the public all aspects of a problem.
During 2010-2014, over 30 journalists from Transnistrian region and UTA Gagauz Yeri have benefited from internship programs in the editorial offices in Chişinău and Bălţi.
Training and Joint Projects Conducted by Journalists from Both Banks of the Nistru River
33 journalists from national and local media participated in two training programs focusing on professional coverage of issues related to minorities and social vulnerable groups, organized by IJC during 28 February – 1 March and 10 – 11 July 2014.
As a result of two training sessions, journalists from both banks of the Nistru River:
- learned how to cover topics concerning minority groups and socially vulnerable persons through in the light of positive examples and success stories;
- gained skills and learned techniques to cover sensible issues, in line with journalistic ethics principles, and promoting the values of quality journalism;
- suggested ideas for stories that diminish stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes;
- established cooperation and partnership relations.
By bringing together journalists from Bălţi, Chişinău, Ialoveni, Comrat, Ciadîr-Lunga, Bender and Tiraspol, the activity aimed at improving journalists' skills to cover stories on these issues, while observing journalistic ethics principles, and promoting the values of quality journalism.
Program trainers, Nadine Gogu (IJC Director), Petru Macovei (IPA Executive Director), Alina Radu (Ziarul de Gardă Director), and special guests Tyrone Shaw (media expert from USA) and Angela Frolov (Program Coordinator at Genderdoc-M Center) encouraged journalists to write stories about minorities and socially vulnerable persons without departing from ethical norms, and choosing a responsible approach when covering stories about such persons.
Further, on a content base, 20 journalists from both banks of Nistru River, of 33 participants trained by IJC, were shortlisted. Thus, from March to July and from September to October 2014, twenty journalists from various media outlets from Chișinău, Ialoveni, Comrat, Ciadîr-Lunga, Bender, Râbnița and Tiraspol produced joint journalistic materials. These stories covered various life aspects of people belonging to minority and socially vulnerable groups, difficulties they daily face, but also convincing success stories aimed at diminishing stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes.
"Participation in this project gave me the chance to understand better this topic and realize that I am able to write interesting, positive stories about socially vulnerable groups," said Petru Cosoi, Unimedia reporter.
The stories are available HERE.
The internship program, training and joint projects were carried out in the framework of Promoting the Rights of Minorities and Marginalized Groups in the Transnistrian and UTA Gagauz Yeri through the Media Project, implemented by the IJC with the financial support of Civil Rights Defenders from Sweden, IJC partner.
Assistance to Non-Governmental Sector from Transnistrian Region
In October 2014, in Tiraspol, IJC launched the study “NGO Media Sector in the Transnistrian region: Reality and Development Perspectives” (in Romanian and Russian). The study assesses the current situation of media NGO sector in Transnistrian region, in the light of needs and difficulties faced, and development opportunities provided to journalists.
One of the main study conclusions was that media NGOs from Transnistrian region have to continue civil society development and consolidation by promoting civil rights and freedoms, civic journalism, online media and public dialog culture.
"The organizations and associations whose fields of activity are freedom of expression and media had some progress in their development, but they still need support from international partners. Also, the journalists in Transnistrian region have to cooperate, in order to make their work easier,” stated Ruslan Mihalevschi, the author of the study.
The research is based on questioning and interviewing 17 persons, including 11 journalists and 6 NGO representatives from Tiraspol, Bender, Dubăsari, and Râbnița.
In response to recommendations issued by the author of the study, IJC consulted and assisted an initiative group, made of four Transnistrian journalists, in registering a new media organization, named MeDiaLog, at the Ministry of Justice of Republic of Moldova.
IJC notes that in June 2013, a new pilot research study was launched the – “Study of Transnistrian Media Needs Assessment” conducted by a team of experts from Moldova and Bulgaria.
The publication was produced within the grant program launched by East Europe Foundation (EEF) from financial resources offered by European Union, the Swedish Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark/DANIDA. The Promoting Media Freedom in Transnistrian Region Through Strengthening the Civil Society Sector Project was implemented by IJC. The contents are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East Europe Foundation and the donors.
IJC Initiatives Promoting European Integration
Over 80 journalists, representatives of civil society, diplomatic missions, governmental and non-governmental institutions, students and professors, media consumers participated in several meetings of the European Cafe, organized by IJC, during May-September 2014.
Various topics were discussed, including minority groups, educational system and opportunities provided by EU to Moldovan students, identity and unity in the context of European integration of Moldova. Through informal discussions, participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas, break prejudices about EU and European integration, based on the experience of Slovakia and other EU member states.
One of the conclusions drawn during the meetings of the European Cafe was that Moldova is able to incorporate European values, however many compromises are required.
In this respect, while attending one of the European Cafe meetings, H.E. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, noted that, to a certain extent, Moldova itself may be viewed as the European Union in miniature, and in order to build its future, it must solve its identity issues and identify opportunities for economic development and social welfare. To establish an European nation, first, it is necessary to build a political nation and a common idea.
In turn, HE Robert Kirnág, Ambassador of Slovakia to Moldova highlighted that only after all citizens of Slovakia managed to unite, the country could succeed on the way to European integration. "We waisted a lot of energy in our national and identity fights. To accomplish national unity, we had to reach consensus on both internal and external levels, to have a national interest, an unique strategic vision and be united", revealed HE Robert Kirnág, Ambassador of Slovakia to Moldova.
IJC, in partnership with Slovak Atlantic Commission (CAS), launched (on 12 February and on June 16, 2014) two surveys on perceptions of Moldovans about Moldova's political course towards EU/European integration and Eurasian Customs Union. The surveys were conducted at CAS initiative, in cooperation with Elena Korosteleva, lecturer at the Global Europe Centre of Kent University (Great Britain), the Central European Policy Institute (CEPI), and the Independent Sociology and Information Service 'OPINIA'.
The meetings of the European Café and the surveys on perceptions of EU vs ECU were organized by the IJC as part of the Widening the European Dialogue in Moldova Project, implemented by the Slovak Atlantic Commission with the assistance of the Central European Policy Institute. The project was financially supported by SlovakAid.
Study Visit to EU Member States
During 9-13 November 2014, 15 journalists from 13 media institutions - newspapers, radio, TV and online, and freelancers from different localities of Moldova visited three EU countries: Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania. Participants met several journalists, political analysts, economists and representatives of the European institutions. The visits facilitated the exchange of experience and techniques on covering subjects related to the EU, European values and the role of media in the process of integration of our country into the European community.
As a result of study visits, journalists published 30 articles on various topics, including the benefits of Hungarian educational system, the level of public transportation in the Czech Republic, and the social entrepreneurship in Romania. Thus, journalists informed citizens about the ways to invest in professional training of young specialists and working places, the protection of the right to employment of disabled persons, and the allocation of European resources for the renovation of public transport for the benefit of citizens. Through these articles, the authors intended to present different social, economic aspects of European countries, enabling the audience to make their own opinions about the meaning of European integration.
The articles written by journalists are available here.
In 2014, IJC has continued to organize the traditional meetings of the Press Club, where journalists, local and central public authorities, lawyers, media experts discuss topical issues.
Media Ownership Transparency: Between Monopoly and Pluralism was the heading of the Press Club meeting conducted by IJC on 19 September. Discussions focused on draft law No 240 on amending and supplementing the Broadcasting Code, intended to ensure media ownership transparency. The event was attended by: Angela Arama, one of the authors of the Broadcasting Code, Chiril Lucinschi, former head of the specialized committee, Ion Terguță, MIR TV Direcor, Elena Bedros, employer NAC and Eugeniu Rîbca, media law expert. Journalists, civil society representatives, experts and media consumers agreed that the importance of this draft law grows in the context of parliamentary elections expected in the autumn of 2014 and of transition from analog to digital television.
Another meeting of the Press Club took place on 6 November, its discussions focused on press access to the plenary hall of the Parliament. Both the speakers (Tatiana Corai, Editor of the Media-azi portal, Dumitru Ciorici, editorial director of Unimedia.md, Dorin Scobioală, Reuters Television correspondent in Moldova and lawyer Vitalie Zama), and the participants in the Press Club agreed that the restriction of the media access to the Parliament is a stringent problem not only for the press, but for the entire society, as in this way the citizens’ right to information on subjects of public interest is violated. This event was as part of the campaign initiated by IJC aiming to solve difficulties reporters' accreditation to the Parliament and improve working conditions for journalists. For additional information, check the portal Media Azi.
On November 26, 2014, IJC organized another meeting of the Press Club, where participants discussed about the role of media in promoting European values and the process of EU integration of the Republic of Moldova. Special guests (Anatol Caciuc; producer, Radio Moldova; Ludmila Barbă, journalist, TV Moldova 1; Natalia Enache, journalist, Radio Chișinău; Ion Mazur, Program Coordinator IPA), but also journalists who attended the event noted that journalists should use accessible and comprehensive language when covering European issues, talk about the different aspects of EU, and bring to people’s attention success stories that have a visible impact on public opinion.
The study visits, the articles and the Press Club meetings were organized as part of the Advocacy Campaigns Aimed at Improving Transparency of Media Ownership, Access to Information and Promotion of EU values and Integration Project, implemented by the IJC. The organization of these study visits became possible due to the generous support of the American people, offered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed at the event belong to participants and might not reflect the position of the USAID or the US Government.
Media Literacy for Media Consumers
In March 2014, IJC started the Promoting Media Literacy Among Moldovan Citizens Project, targeting young media consumers, and aiming to contribute to democracy consolidation by educating critical thinking of young people in the Republic of Moldova.
During April-December 2014, IJC paid ten visits to pupils from lyceums and schools in Ialoveni, Sângerei, Orhei, Nisporeni, Hâncești, Leova, Căușeni, Călărași, Criuleni and Anenii Noi; the activities were led by Radio Free Europe journalists Diana Răilean and Liliana Barbăroșie.
During summer holidays, six additional visits were paid to the Lyceum of the Academy of Science of Moldova, in Chișinău, for pupils from several districts of the country. The lessons were taught by Nadine Gogu, IJC Director and Petru Macovei, IPA Executive Director as well as by journalists Diana Răilean and Liliana Barbăroșie.
Four visits were organized for students from the University of European Studies of Moldova, Academy of Economic Studies, State University of Tiraspol and Slavonic University in Chișinău. The lessons for students were led by Vasile Botnaru, Chief of the Chişinău Bureau of the Radio Free Europe.
In all, over 500 pupils and students participated in media literacy lessons, and most of participants appreciated the usefulness of these activities and the topicality of the subject. Media literacy lessons became popular and triggered pupils' interest, as they learned for the first time such terms as informational manipulation, media, information sources.
Vlad Buga, XII-th grade pupil at the Mihai Eminescu Lyceum in Anenii Noi town: “As a result of attending the media literacy lesson, I have learned that many TV channels, from Moldova and other countries as well, manipulate society through their media content. It is a subject of interest for us, as we need to realize the informational danger we are being exposed to.”
Valentina Iorga, XII-th grade pupil at the Constantin Spătaru Lyceum in the town of Leova: "Media literacy for Moldovan youth is an extremely useful project. We face the problem of manipulation through mass media daily. We, young people, are the most prone to manipulation. Today, we have learned how news is produced and how to check the veracity of a news item."
In 2015, it is planned to conduct five more visits to lyceums across the country as well as to provide a training program to teachers from different districts of the country.
Also part of this project, ten case studies were performed by Radio Free Europe journalists. In these works, authors present various samples of professional or non-professional journalism. The case studies are available on IJC web page under Mediacritica section.
Strengthening Independent Media in Moldova
On December 19, 2014, IJC, in partnership with Internews, launched the Strengthening Independent Media in Moldova project, which aims to apply certain innovations in Moldovan journalistic activity, encourage the dialog among young people and use of Internet by older generations, and modernize the content of local media.
For 20 months, until July 2016, national and regional media outlets will benefit from various activities, such as: grants for multimedia innovations, business and media marketing training sessions, data journalism training, laboratory of multimedia innovations as well as first Media App Hackaton in Moldova.
As part of this project, eight multimedia packages, named Moldova Plus will be produced, and further aired by 12 local media outlets, project partners, including from Transnistrian region and UTA Gagauz-Yeri.
One of the salient features of the project is that it will encourage the dialog among young people by means of discussion clubs with an interactive formate, entitled European Cafe. As well, IJC will organize a summer camp on media literacy for teenagers. An innovative informative campaign 'Bunica online' - will popularize Internet among old people in rural areas, inform them about and involve in social life.
The Strenghening Independent Media in Moldova Project is implemented by the IJC, in partnership with Internews, from December 2014 to July 2016, with the financial support of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs (DRL) at the United States Department of State.
Media Azi portal has constantly maintained the traditional sections - In Media, Impact, Enemies of the Press, Professional Development, Useful, Multimedia IJC. Local and foreign news concerning freedom of expression, access to information, observance of ethical standards and media law were the mostly covered issues.
The 2014 novelty for journalists, provided by the multi-functional portal Media Azi were Interviews and Commentaries The editorial team conducted and posted 15 interviews with various personalities in the field of media to provide complex points of view on factors that hinder Moldovan press from becoming free in the full sens of the word, and on working conditions for journalists.
In October 2014, a new section was introduced - Commentaries; it hosted 12 analytical reports on issues faced by national media in the view of European standards. Thus, apart from the specific situation analysis, the authors, media experts and experienced journalists suggested ideas and solutions to help media outlets work in compliance with European standards. Among the analyzed issues were: privation of journalists' free access to plenary sessions in the Parliament, media ethics during elections, media pluralism, manipulation and misinformation through media.
The Mediacritica section was updated with several case studies on press behavior during election campaign, and the Impact section contained statements, online petitions by which IJC took a stance when certain media outlets or journalists required support. It is noteworthy that IJC, in partnership with IPA and Broadcasters Association (APEL), were involved in the project on media monitoring during election campaign. Complex monitoring reports, with recommendations and conclusions of the experts are available under the Publication section.
Since Media Azi has become a reference website for journalists and public alike, it actively interacts with media representatives and Internet users through social media (Facebook), it has its own page.
In terms of research, in 2014 IJC launched three quarterly Media Freedom Index in Eastern Partnership countries (January-March, April-June and July-September), where media in Moldova recorded an index of 6 out of 7, and it was ranked on the second place after Georgia.
Two more issues of bi-annual analytical journal Mass Media in Moldova (unique publication of such kind in the country) were launched and made available to journalists and everybody concerned. The journal contains a series of interviews, analysis and synthesis reports, book reviews, prepared under the traditional sections: "Press and State", "Letter of the Law", "Media as Business", "Digital Mass-Media", "Regional Press", "Ethics and Professionalism", "Experiences", "Studies", "Book Reviews".
Thus, among the issues tackled in July issue were articles about the date.gov.md platform, Press Council as an instrument of auto regulation, 'the most expensive genre of journalism' - investigative journalism, print and electronic press and its financial dependence on oligarchy.
The December 2014 issue summarized the main events of the year, bringing to the forefront information on the traditional Annual prize awarding gala Top Ten Journalists of the Year 2014, an anniversary edition, the XX-th, as IJC marked two decades of its activity for the sake of free press and democracy.
The journal Mass-Media in Moldova is issued in electronic formate, in Romanian, Russian and English, and is available on Media-azi portal HERE.
The website Media Azi is a product of the IJC created within the Focus on Media: Freedom of Expression, Media Literacy and Accountability Project , financially supported by the US Embassy in Moldova.
Media law analysis and designing improvement proposals
On March 20, 2014, Media Law and Policy Department launched the Annual Report on the Situation of the Press in Moldova in 2013. The report is divided into five chapters and covers following issues:
- Developments and trends in the Moldovan press in 2013 revealing the main political events as well as media market development;
- Public broadcasting sector, the activity of Broadcast Coordinating Council, of National Public Broadcaster Teleradio-Moldova and Regional Public Broadcaster Teleradio-Găgăuzia;
- Freedom of expression and defamation in 2013, the Legislative developments in this field, defamation cases against media and lawsuits against the media;
- Freedom of the press in Transnistrian region;
- Conclusions for 2013 and forecasts for 2014 revealed by journalists and civil society representatives.
In April, IJC presented the study "Mass Media Access to Information in Moldova: Problems and Perspectives", in the frame of a public event attended by 26 guests. The authors of the research (Dumitru Lazur and Vitalie Zama) analyzed the current situation in terms of access to information, to assessed the legal framework in Moldova in comparison with the good practices in access to information in the European Union, and examined possible mechanisms guarantying access to information in our country.
The research concluded that in nearly 1/3 of the examined cases the time limits set for replying to requests for access to information is not observed, and in 18 percent of cases the authors were refused or the requests remained unanswered by public and state authorities.
Based on the findings, the study offered recommendations for optimizing the legal framework that regulate access to public interest information; these were registered as legal initiative in the Parliament.
On June 27, 2014, IJC organized a training course for journalists, on law enforcement concerning defamation and access to information. 15 participants, together with lawyer Tatiana Puiu and Alina Radu, Ziarul de Gardă Director, discussed in detail the legal aspects that professional journalists should consider when doing their job as well as practical elements and case studies about obtaining information of public interest. Also, participants learned to make a difference between facts and value judgments and to express themselves in line with the law, so as not to be accused of defamation.
Nelly Ciobanu from the Glia Drochiana publication stated: “We consolidated our knowledge about the legal framework regulating mass media in Moldova in terms of access to information of public interest. I also find quite useful the recommendations about ways to avoid certain phrasing so as not to be accused of damaging honor, dignity or professional reputation.”
It was the second training organized within this program. A similar training, for a different group of journalists, took place in the autumn of 2013.
The Annual Report on the Situation of the Press in Moldova, the study Mass Media Access to Information in Moldova: Problems and Perspectives, and the training for journalists was conducted as part of Improving the Media Law Environment in Moldova Project. The project was implemented by the IJC between June 2013 and December 2014, with the financial support of Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden.
Media Law and Policy Department produced and disseminated six Legal Bulletins, that contained the summary of laws and amendments to the current laws, information about recent ECHR caselaw on access to information and freedom of expression. The aim of this bulletin is to keep journalists, media organizations, lawyers and others updated in this area. This electronic bulletin is distributed by email to over 180 subscribers in two languages: Romanian and Russian. Anybody interested in receiving the legal bulletin may subscribe HERE.
DMLP has been providing free legal consultations to journalists and media organizations in Moldova for 15 years. The applicants receive professional legal assistance, copies of the legal acts in force, information on other necessary assistance sources. Consultations are provided in the field of media law, rights and obligations of journalists, especially in respect to protection of honor, dignity, and professional reputation, right to freedom of expression, access to information, right to privacy, the legal status of publications, advertising, copyright. Consultations are offered by e-mail, telephone, or in person.
In 2014, CJI provided legal consultation in 16 cases and released 10 declarations on cases of violations of journalists' rights.
The legal assistance was provided under the Improving the Media Law Environment in Moldova Project, implemented by IJC with the financial support of Media Legal Defence Initiative (United Kingdom).
DMLP organized two public events where several media experts and lawyers tackled media issues in the view of ensuring media ownership transparency and cooperation with authorities to solve the problem on hindering journalists' access to plenary sessions in the Parliament.
The first meeting was held on 10 September and was attended by 25 representatives of media NGOs, lawyer and experts, they analyzed draft law No 240 on modifying and supplementing the Broadcasting Code, aimed at ensuring media ownership transparency, which was approved by the Parliament in the first reading on July 21, 2014.
The experts recognized that this kind of draft law is necessary when there are visible signs of media concentration, which encourages manipulation or disinformation. Participants came with proposals and recommendations, which were delivered to the specialized parliamentary committee. Also, the IJC issued a declaration where the Parliament is asked to abide by the term of not more than 45 days between the first and second readings, required by the current legislation.
It is noteworthy that in March 2015, draft law No 240 was approved in the second reading by the MPs of the XXth legislature, which would be enacted after 6 days from the publication date in the Official Monitor.
On 16 October, 2014, DMLP organized a round table where journalists, media managers and lawyers analyzed the working conditions for journalists accredited to the Parliament. Participants of the event qualified mass media presence at Parliament’s meetings as a lesson of democracy for mass media and citizens, including for the Parliament, they also referred to the technical problems faced by media representatives in the Parliament building, such as poor video signal that cannot be controlled by journalists, periodically absent GSM signal, lack of Internet connection, insufficient space.
This event was a follow-up of a campaign initiated by IJC aiming to determine authorities find a solution, as at the end of 2013, journalists were denied access to the plenary hall of the renovated Parliament building, and were allowed only to a specially equipped room.
The events were conducted by IJC as part of Advocacy Campaigns Aimed at Improving Transparency of Media Ownership, Access to Information and Promotion of EU Values and Integration Project.
The video project Accomplished and Involved Women presented the stories of 15 women from Moldova who managed to assert themselves and achieve remarkable results in various fields: management, business, local public administration, agriculture, medicine. Protagonists spoke about their experience and about the efforts they made to make their wishes and projects in Moldova come true.
The videos were produced and broadcast by several local TV station as part of the Changing the Perception on Women in Society through Media Project, implemented by the IJC between September 2013 and September 2014 with the support of the Netherlands Embassy through the MATRA Program.
Other five videos entitled Dreams, Achievements, and European Future, brought to the forefront success stories of courageous people who tried and accomplished their dreams, were launched by the IJC in 2014. Protagonists spoke of their own experience of starting up a business in Moldova and managing to be successful at home. Through their own example, the protagonists of these videos delivered a message of support and encouraged anyone wishing to start up a business and achieve good results.
"Madame Teacher, You will Understand Me..." – the protagonist of the video Essay about Europe is a pupil sharing his impressions of a recent vacation he spent in Europe. Through various examples, this video aimed at diminishing stereotypes about the European Union, and break prejudices about the lifestyle in the European countries.
The videos were produced as part of the Advocacy Campaigns Aimed at Improving Transparency of Media Ownership, Access to Information and Promotion of EU values and Integration Project, implemented by the IJC. The production of these videos became possible due to the generous support of the American people, offered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed belong to the Independent Journalism Center and might not reflect the position of the USAID or the US Government.
As well, the IJC production team produced the traditional video colaj, presented at the Annual Prize Awarding Gala Top Ten Journalists of the Year, that is a retrospective of the main events of the year, including in relation to the activity of journalists.
Another three video spots were produced by IJC in 2014, as part of a campaign supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, aiming to refute the myths about the EU-Moldova Association Agreement: Dismantling EU-RM myths, The Agreements is good and United for an European Moldova.
Most videos produced by IJC are available on IJC web page under the section Multimedia.
Annually, IJC launches and celebrates along with other media organizations Press Freedom Days. In 2014, the Press Freedom Days campaign (PFD), the 20th edition, was launched on 5 May. IJC and IPA representatives presented, at a press conference, the Memorandum on Press Freedomin Moldova.
The Memorandum, signed by eight media NGOs, showed that during May 3, 2013 - May 3, 2014, according to international media freedom rankings, the level of press freedom in Republic of Moldova maintained the same level as in previous years. As to working conditions for media, legal framework on public broadcaster, concentration and monopolizations of the media, the experts considered that the lack of significant progress was almost entirely explained by the status quo in domestic politics and in relevant legislation.
As part of Press Freedom Days, on May 6, IJC organized a public debate entitled: The Statue of Press in Moldova Between 'Leader”and 'Free, where the Press Freedom Index, included in the quarterly report for January-March 2014 was presented. Media experts, journalists, managers of media outlets, MPs and civil society representatives tackled several topical issues on media, including monopolization of media advertising market, lack of information on owners of media outlets, poor business activity of media. Participants at the debate also discussed about plagiarism phenomenon in media, importance of accurate and balance coverage of events, public opinion manipulation and journalist statue in the context of Internet development.
Annual Press Club
Chişinău Press Club – IJC and Press Freedom Committee (PFC) – awarded the best journalists of 2014, during the Annual Gala of the Press Club, the XXth edition, organized on 18 December.
The top journalists of 2014 were:
- Natalia Morari, TV 7
- Speranța State, PRO TV
- Liliana Barbăroșie, Radio Free Europe
- Corneliu Rusnac, Radio Chișinău
- Alina Țurcanu, Adevărul Moldova
- Oxana Nesterova, Экономическое Обозрение
- Ion Preașcă, Mold-Street
- Constantin Grigoriță, photoreporter
- Constantin Tănase, Timpul
- Vasile Botnaru, Radion Free Europe
In addition, the following four special prizes were awarded at the Gala:
- Investigation of the Year: RISE Moldova - “Russian Laundromat: ”: Moscow–Riga via Chisinau”
- Award for promoting diversity in media: Natalia Barbier (freelancer, Bender), Galina Maresieva (Regional Public Broadcaster Teleradio-Găgăuzia)
- Debut of the Year: Mold-Street portal
- Hope of the Year: Victoria Ungureanu, Radio Chișinău
The main aim of this event is to help strengthen professional journalism through all means, support and encourage journalists' efforts to make a better press in line with professional international standards.
In 2014, the IJC provided journalists and journalism students access to 4,000 book titles in Romanian, English, French, Russian, and German that covered, inter alia, the following domains: print press, radio, TV, management, public relations, media law, and dictionaries. Monthly, the library was visited by journalists, lecturers and journalism students.
Apart from that, the library provided access to those interested in reports, studies, assessments, laws, and other documents concerning the media in Moldova and abroad. As well, IJC donated books on various events carried out in 2014. The resource center subscribes to the main periodicals (newspapers and magazines) in Moldova (over 50) in both Romanian and Russian.
In 2015, IJC will continue:
To carry out:
- various training activities for media, conferences, media research, Press Clubs, debates, consultancy programs, etc.;
- media literacy activities for media consumers, aimed at promoting critical thinking and spirit;
- advocacy campaigns;
- Post-university program at the Chisinau School of Advanced Journalism;
- Press Freedom Days Campaign;
- Top Ten Journalists of the Year Prize Award Gala;
- Mass Media in Moldova Journal (in Romanian, Russian and English);
- Media law bulletin (in Romanian and Russian);
- Annual report on freedom of expression in Moldova (in Romanian, Russian and English);
- Journalism integrity through news items, interviews, analytical reports posted on the multi functional portal Media Azi;
- Legislation and developments in the legislation on freedom of expression and information and participation in drafting proposals for improving existing legislation;
- Violations of freedom of expression and information.
- Social spots, human histories, video reports, documentaris on various topical issues;
- Free access to Resource Center;
- Free legal assistance (including court representation) in issues related to media law, freedom of expression and journalists rights.
As from February 2000, IJC is member of the South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media – (SEENPM), and as from June 2001 – member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).
IJC is the only organization from Moldova involved in the South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media – (SEENPM), which brings together 17 centers and media organizations from 11 countries. Established in February 2000, this network offers trainings for journalists and media trainers. In 2002–2004, IJC was member of the Coordinating Board of SEENPM.
In June 2001, IJC became member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), an international network that brings together over 80 organizations that have as their main goal to monitor the situation on freedom of expression. The most well-known product of the network is the electronic bulletin Action Alert, that is based on the notifications of violations of freedom of expression in the regions represented by the member organizations. The bulletin is disseminated to a significant number of institutions and interested groups throughout the world. IJC is member of the IFEX Board from 2013 to 2015.
Alexandru Canţîr, IMEDIA
Ludmila Andronic, Press Council
Petru Macovei, Independent Press Association
Daniela Terzi-Barbăroşie, media expert
Vladimir Soloviev, Newsmaker.md
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Voluntari găzduiți de CJI în cadrul Serviciului European de Voluntariat:
Robin Koskas (Franța),
Isabel Pastor Fernández (Spania),
Francesco Brusa (Italia),
Ruben Pulido Fernandez (Spania).