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Cotidianul TV launch project rejected twice by CA. Media outlet management accuses the Council of abuse

30 July 2020
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For the second time the Broadcasting Council (BC) has rejected the proposal to launch the Cotidianul TV (CTV) channel, submitted by People For Free Media – a public association and owner of cotidianul.md. Cristian Cobuz, the association’s manager, accuses BC of a premeditated act and has applied for license for the third time. The Broadcasting Council claims there are inconsistencies between the presented concept and the broadcast schedule developed for the project, specifying that the application may be filed as many times as the applicant deems appropriate.
 
Initially, Cotidianul TV was intended to broadcast in a general format through the national services providers’ networks. The first application for broadcast license was filed with BC in early March this year; the Council members adjourned its consideration due to some objections as to the broadcast schedule. The application was then discussed during another two meetings but never got the necessary number of votes.
 
In the last meeting on this case Lidia Viziru, AC member, said that CTV “submitted the same documents that were in its first license application”. Cristian Cobuz insisted that the second application presented a different broadcast structure, with “an additional program”. In reply Lidia Viziru specified that she would vote “for” when the broadcast schedule complied with the media service’s program structure.
 
After the first two attempts had failed, Cristian Cobuz wrote a letter to several officials, embassies and media outlets accusing BC of “power abuse” against Cotidianul TV and claiming the Council “prevented the channels’ right and freedom to reach the audience, including information consumers without any access to the Internet”.
 
When asked by Media Azi to comment on the accusations, Dragos Vicol, BC Chairperson, said the Council “reiterates its opinion expressed in the public meetings of May 29 and June 30 that the broadcast schedule does not comply with the media service’s structure of programs as presented by People For Free Media”. He added that, according to the law, rejection of the applications does not prevent the organization from “submittimg a new broadcast license application that would meet the requirements of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services”.
 
On July 15 the news outlet once again applied for a broadcast license. Cristian Cobuz told Media Azi that that channel’s general format had been changed into an informational and analytical one. He said his organization already possessed a part of the necessary equipment and had recently issued a new invitation to tender for equipment suppliers. The TV channel is to be funded from grants, including Romanian projects, as well as advertising.


Andrei Nastase  and Alexandru Machedon. Photo: cotidianul.md

Until mid-2019 the portal cotidianul.md was managed by Expresiv Media, a company founded by Cristian Cobuz together with Alexandru Machedon who owns StarNet and was also chief of PPDA leader Andrei Năstase’s campaign office during local elections in Chisinau. Cristian Cobuz said that Exclusiv Media currently exists separately from People For Free Media and focuses solely on commerce.