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2019 Parliamentary Elections: Politicians with Media Businesses and Journalists who Want to Rule

16 January 2019
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Some of the Moldovan TV and radio broadcasters remain controlled by politicians, candidates for the parliamentary elections that are to be held in February. This is confirmed by the declarations of property they submitted to the Central Electoral Commission when registering to enter the electoral race in the national constituency. Media Azi analysed the declarations of the owners and administrators of the media outlets, which are officially in the politicians’ ‘pockets’. None of them reported in the declaration any dividends from their media businesses.

PD
Head of PD Vladimir Plahotniuc, the first candidate on his party’s list, continues to own most media outlets through the General Media Group Corp. and General Radio Group INC Companies, where he holds 100% shares. General Media Group Corp. has broadcasting licences for Prime TV and Publika TV television channels, while General Radio Group INC – for Muz FM and Publika FM radio stations. According to the politician’s declaration of property, the purchase price of the first one is MDL 42 million and of the second one – MDL 5 million. PD chairman did not report any dividends from his media businesses in the declaration.
Vladimir Plahotniuc founded these firms in 2015, when he transferred to General Media Group Corp. four TV broadcasters: Prime, Publika, Canal 2 and Canal 3. Muz FM, Publika FM and Maestro FM radio stations were taken over by General Radio Group INC. Until then, those seven institutions were managed by offshore companies. He has made these changes when the Broadcasting Code was amended and obliged private broadcasters to declare their actual owners. In 2017 the PD candidate gave up on two television channels from the media holding he owns. Canal 2 and Canal 3 were transferred from General Media Group Corp. into the possession of Telestar Media Company, founded by the journalist Oleg Cristal. Maestro FM is now managed by Media Content Distribution SRL – a company founded in 2016 by Lilian Bustiuc. Although they have different owners, all these institutions still have the same address: 1 Ghioceilor Str., Buiucani district of Chisinau municipality.
The honorary chair of the Democratic Party Dumitru Diacov is the 10th on the party list for the parliamentary elections of 24 February. He reported in his declaration that he was a professional journalist. Diacov stated that over two years he had earned over MDL 354 thousand as the MP’s salary only.

PSRM
Institutions affiliated with the socialists did not change either. Corneliu Furculita, the 13th candidate on the PSRM list still owns 100% shares of Exclusiv Media SRL – the company which provides advertising services, publishes ‘Argumenty i Fakty’ newspaper, manages NTV Moldova and THT Exclusive.
The MP’s wife is employed by Exclusiv Media. According to the MP’s declaration of property, in 2017 her salary was MDL 204,000, while in 2018 – MDL 216,625. President Igor Dodon’s declaration of property for 2017, submitted to the National Integrity Authority, shows that his wife Galina Dodon is employed by this company as well, having earned a salary of over MDL 280,000.  
The administrator of Exclusiv Media SRL is Petru Burduja, who also runs on the PSRM list, ranking 21st. Burduja is the administrator of both television broadcasters (Exclusiv TV and NTV Moldova). According to his declaration of property, in 2017 Petru Burduja earned MDL 81,000 as salary from Exclusiv Media, while in 2018 his earnings amounted to MDL 180,520.
According to the candidate's declaration of property, Petru Burduja also owns 50% shares in the Ziarul Panorama SRL newspaper (purchase price – MDL 957,388). In the ‘direct investments’ section he stated he had granted the company a loan of half a million MDL.
PSRM also has a reporter from Accent TV on its list of candidates – Elena Vijga. Accent TV channel is managed by Telesistem TV SRL – a company administrated by the journalist Stanislav Vijga, who previously donated money to PSRM. Telesistem TV is owned by Media Invest Service, founded by Vadim Ciubara, about whom RISE Moldova said he was one of Igor Dodon’s ‘shadow’ advisers.  

‘Sor’ Party
The list of ‘Sor’ Party shows connections with the media market through the journalist Dumitru Chitoroaga – the candidate number 43. He administers the two television channels affiliated with Ilan Sor: Orhei TV and Central Television, launched in November. Both broadcasters are officially owned by Rita Tvik – biographer of Miron Sor’s (father of Ilan Sor) life, through the Media Resurse Company.
According to the declaration of property and interests, Chitoroaga’s salary at Media Resurse SRL amounted to only MDL 12,000. He received MDL 238,106 from ‘Rossia Segodnea’ International Information Agency, headed by Vladimir Novosadiuc – Rita Tvik’s husband.
Party leader Ilan Sor does not own officially any media outlets.
Party list includes other journalists as well. Nina Dimoglo is the 13th. In her declaration of property she claims to be the employee of Mediamax TV, founded by Marcel Darie.
Valerii Klimenko, another candidate from the ‘Sor’ Party also claims to be a journalist.

‘ACUM’ Bloc
The list of ‘ACUM’ Electoral Bloc includes only two candidates who stated in the declaration that they were journalists. These are Ion Terguta, who used to be the Director of the Moldovan National Representative Office of TRCI ‘MIR’, and Angela Munteanu-Pojoga.
Ion Terguta reported in his declaration that over the past two years he had received over MDL 686,000 from Media Alternativa, which manages TV8 (where he acted as a director for a short time – editor’s note), from the ‘Health for Youth’ Public Association and from PLDM.