It is hard to recover a lost freedom or right, EU ambassador

The Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova Peter Michalko said the European Union is concerned about the worsening of the democratic standards and the rule of law in the Republic of Moldova last year, including of the freedom and pluralism of the media. “My message for the representatives of the media – I would like to encourage you to respect the deontological criteria of the profession of journalist and to realize that it is hard to recover a lost freedom or right,” the ambassador stated in an interview for Media Azi that is quoted by IPN.

The European official said the Association Agreement between the EU and Moldova includes provisions concerning the freedom of the media and the subject is systematically addressed in the political dialogue of the EU with Moldova. “As it is also indicated in the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of February 2018, the EU requested the Republic of Moldova to ensure transparency and competition in broadcasting, to address the concentration of media ownership and to create an environment that would favor the activity of independent media and would offer high-quality information to its citizens,” stated the ambassador.

Peter Michalko welcomed the adoption by Parliament of the law that specifies the Competition Council’s powers in relation to the media, which is also stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding between the EU and Moldova for providing macro-financial assistance. The official called on the Competition Council and the Broadcasting Coordination Council to monitor, to assess and to react to aspects related to the non-free functioning of the advertising market or to the lack of transparency concerning the final beneficiaries of media outlets. According to him, the press, especially the investigative one, plays a very important role by bringing and keeping these subjects in the defocus of society, the relevant institutions and foreign partners.

The Head of the EU Delegation said the access to information should be guaranteed with the finding of that balance between the public interest and the private interest. In any society, the good governance and transparency norms should be defined depending on the development of society and civic spirit, administrative capacity and integrity in the institutional and political climate. When these parameters are not well developed, the access to information become crucial for democracy. “Regrettably, the parliamentary session ended without adopting the legislative amendments formulated by the parliamentary working group for improving the legislation on the media, concerning access to information and with controversies related to the proposed new regulations on the protection of persons data,” stated Peter Michalko.

The European official said they wanted to see progress in adopting the remaining laws on advertising, fiscal stimuli and access to information so as to ensure a legal framework of a higher quality. With the promulgation of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services and its coming into force on January 1, 2019, the authorities are encouraged to  implement the new code, especially aspects of the new monitoring tasks of the BCC and the reform of the public broadcaster Teleradio-Moldova.

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