You are here

The IJC’s Petitions on the Actions of Three TV Channels during the Election Campaign Were Not Examined by the BC Because “They Are Not Motivated.” IJC Lawyer: “The Council’s Claims Are Abusive and Ungrounded”

01 July 2021
136 reads
After the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) sent to the Broadcasting Council (BC) three petitions based on the first report on monitoring the actions of the media during the election campaign, the authority refused to examine them claiming that the acts “were not motivated.” The IJC complaints targeted such channels as Primul in Moldova, NTV Moldova, and TV6, which, according to the research, massively favored certain electoral participants on June 1-10.

The petitions targeting the three channels were sent on June 16 and 17. According to the documents, NTV Moldova and Primul in Moldova failed to provide equal access to news to all electoral participants, reflecting the events related to the campaign in a biased and unbalanced manner. Besides, the TV channels massively favored the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists (EBCS), while the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) was somewhat disadvantaged. TV6 covered the activity of most candidates correctly and impartially, with the exception of the Sor Political Party, which was evidently favored.

However, the petitions were not considered by the BC experts. In an official reply signed by Ala Ursu-Antoci, the president of the authority, it is mentioned that, according to Art. 75 of the Administrative Code such a notice has to contain the subject of the petition and its motivation. The BC representatives considered that the IJC’s petitions were not motivated.

IJC LAWYER: “THIS IS LEGAL ABSURD”

Cristina Durnea, the lawyer from the Independent Journalism Center, says that the authority’s claims regarding lack of motivation and lack of subject “are ungrounded and used as an opportunity to avoid supervision and control,” and regards them as “legal absurdity.” “In fact, the object of such an appeal is the specific claim of the petitioner, i.e. it implies initiation of an administrative procedure and sanctioning a supplier,” Cristina Durnea argues.

As to the motivation of the petition, she states that this element consists of the factual motivation and the legal motivation. “The factual motivation is the exact description of the actions of TV channels (factual circumstances) and the indication of the reason which determines the petitioner to file the request, whereas the legal motivation implies legal classification of the providers’ actions. I would like to mention that the IJC petitions complied with the formal requirements stipulated by the Administrative Code,” the lawyer explains.

The lawyer concludes that the BC, which, according to the law, is supposed to represent the public interest of providing pluralistic and objective information for the population, “is incapable of fulfilling its duties properly.” “Moreover, in a democratic state, where the authorities cope with their functional duties conscientiously, an ordinary request describing only factual circumstances would have been sufficient to start an administrative procedure in order to examine and detect the breaches,” Durnea says.

In addition, the lawyer specifies that, as to the two other petitions sent by the IJC two days after, this time for another monitoring period, the “BC’s formalistic, abusive, and unfounded claims were not even forwarded to the petitioner.”