Moldova Media Sustainability Index (MSI)
About the MSI
IREX designed the MSI to measure the strength and viability of any country’s media sector. The MSI considers all the factors that contribute to a media system—the quality of journalism, effectiveness of management, the legal environment supporting freedom of the press, and more—to arrive at scores on a scale ranging between 0 and 4. These scores represent the strength of the media sector components and can be analyzed over time to chart progress (or regression) within a country. Additionally, countries or regions may be compared to one another. IREX currently conducts the MSI in 80 countries, and IREX currently conducts the MSI in 80 countries, and produced the first Europe & Eurasia MSI in 2001.
MSI Moldova - 2013 Introduction
Overall Country Score: 2.42
On January 1, 2012, a new year began with the shooting of a Moldovan citizen by a Russian peacekeeper at a checkpoint on the border with Transnistria, the breakaway territory on Molodova’s eastern frontier that is politically backed by Russia. The death of 23-year-old Vadim Pisari sparked protests in Moldova, raised tensions in the country’s diplomatic relations with Russia, and revived the debate over Russia’s military presence in the region.
Moldova also elected a new president in 2012. After a series of anti-government protests led by the Communist opposition in February, parliamentary parties constituting the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) managed to overcome internal differences and agree on a common candidate for president, thus ending a two-and-a-half-year political crisis. Former head of the judiciary Nicolae Timofti was elected president on March 16.
In a significant change for the media world in 2012, the Broadcast Coordinating Council (BCC) withdrew the license of the openly pro-communist television station NIT. Officially, the decision drew mildly negative reactions from some European officials and the OSCE. Unofficially, others who considered NIT a Communist Party propaganda tool hailed the development. The final adoption of anti-discrimination legislation and subsequent protests of the Orthodox community marked the last days of an eventful spring and earned AEI the appreciation of European officials.
Later, representatives of the unionist community, which advocates for Moldova’s union with Romania, organized marches in Chisinau, Cahul, and Balti. In Balti, Russian-speaking protesters who sought to stop the unionists were backed by Social Democrat leader Victor Selin, who supplied them with eggs and free beer. Ultimately, violence erupted and Jurnal TV reporter Victoria Ocara was hit in the head with a stone thrown by a protester.
The summer ended with the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel amid political discussions on the transparency of media ownership, the passage of minor amendments to the Broadcasting Code and the emergence of a new broadcaster (Canal 3). Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, visited in December.
The year ended with the unlikely election of Mircea Surdu as the new director of public broadcaster TV Moldova 1, after former director Angela Sirbu’s resignation in February 2012. The supervisory board of the public station also elected a new chair. Both elections were perceived by panelists as a step backward in the long awaited reform of the public broadcaster, because the candidates elected represent the “old guard” at M1, and the panelists do not consider them likely to implement reforms pledged in 2009, including staff reductions. M1 has over 1500 employees, while its actual needs have been assessed at about 750.
In general, however, the panelists’ scores reflect some optimism over the gains made in the media sector in recent years, particularly in the strength of civil society and its ability to foster free speech protections. Whether these gains can be sustained and carried into other sectors remains under question.