Friday, November 27, 2009

OSCE media freedom representative urges Moldovan government and opposition to jointly continue media reforms, foster pluralism

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Miklos Haraszti, said today following meetings in Chisinau that he hoped the new Moldovan government coalition would seek consensus on the further reforms needed to foster pluralism in the media, and that the opposition Communist Party would co-operate in these efforts.

"The aim of my visit was to get first-hand information on media policies of the new government," said Haraszti. "I see somewhat more pluralism in the media sphere, but also sense a fierce resistance from the opposition and the media outlets affiliated with it to allow for an impartial information space to emerge. It is important that the new Government does not repeat the mistakes of the past and seeks to establish balance by adhering to internationally accepted standards of media governance."

He also commented on recent amendments to the Broadcasting Code which require a simple majority, rather than a qualified majority, in the Parliament to elect candidates to the Audio-Visual Council (the country's media authority) and the Supervisory Board of the public service broadcaster:

"The simple majority rule is acceptable only as a one-off measure so that the board of the public service broadcaster, which was blocked because of a lack of a quorum, can resume its work. The following selection and election process must be inclusive. I hope that both sides in Parliament will do everything in their power to come to an agreement about the candidates," Haraszti said.

He welcomed as necessary the plans of the Parliament's media committee to form a media legislation working group comprising all interested stakeholders, including opposition, civil society and international community representatives.

"A new agreement has to be reached, and scrutinized by the international community, about mutually acceptable guarantees of media independence. The continuing media reform should enforce the transparency of media ownership, revise the restrictive law on state secrets adopted by the previous government and improve access to information for journalists," said Haraszti.

"My Office stands ready to assist Moldova in its reform efforts, but no law is good enough without a willingness to co-operate among the political forces in the country."

Haraszti's visit to Moldova on 24 and 25 November was initiated by Ambassador Philip Remler, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, and Kalman Mizsei, EU Special Representative for Moldova. He met Acting President and Parliamentary Speaker Mihai Ghimpu, as well as Corina Fusu, the Chair of the Media Commission of the Parliament, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Popov, Mark Tkachuc, the Advisor to the President of the Communist Party and Gheorge Gorincioi, the Chairman of the Audiovisual Co-ordination Council. Haraszti also met representatives of international organizations and foreign embassies.

Source: Press Release - OSCE. Published on 26 November 2009

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