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 - 2014 Introduction
Overall Country Score: 2.38
Early 2013 marked the beginning of a new political crisis in Moldova. On December 23, 2012, a number of high-level officials, including the general prosecutor and judges, and several managers of private and state companies—about 40 people overall—took part in a hunting expedition in the nature reserve Pădurea Domnească (Royal Forest). The hunt ended with the serious wounding of one of the participants, who later died. The death of the man was kept secret until January 6, 2013, when the leader of the Antimafie (Anti-mafia) political movement announced that the general prosecutor mortally wounded a man on an illegal hunt.
The parliamentary commission created to investigate the case pointed to a cover-up by law enforcement institutions. The revelation of the man’s death in the company of high-level state officials set off a number of events that launched a political crisis in the Alliance for European Integration (AEI). AEI, which consists of three parties and had been governing the country since 2011, was on the brink of collapse when Vlad Filat, its leader and prime minister, dissolved the AEI. In February 2013, the Communist Party (CPRM) brought a motion of no confidence that the Democratic Party (DP), an AEI member, supported; it resulted in the government’s resignation. A new government was formed only in May after lengthy political negotiations. Experts from the Chişinău press club declared that the way in which the Moldovan media covered the Pădurea Domnească case showed that political actors control the press, and they use it primarily to manipulate public opinion.
Also in 2013 Moldova signed the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. The agreement provides the necessary support to implement some basic economic and governance reforms and will support the liberalization of trade with the EU. Another historic event soon followed: the Constitutional Court acknowledged the Romanian language as the state’s official language, as stated in the Declaration of Independence—not Moldovan, as stated in the constitution. While Moldovan media outlets covered the signing of the Association Agreement in a similar fashion, the decision to designate Romanian as the state language divided the press, and the entire society, into two camps. Finally, as 2013 was a pre-election year, political forces reconsidered and renewed their alliances and commitments.
Meanwhile, in the media sector, despite civil society efforts to increase the transparency of media ownership, lack of progress on that issue continues to concern the media community. Last year’s MSI underscored improvements in the way that civil society supports media freedom but noted that it remains to be seen whether the gains can be sustained and begin to carry over into other aspects of the media. This year’s panelists did point to some improvements, but many of the same doubts persist. Overall, Moldova’s MSI score remained largely unchanged, with individual objective scores showing negligible to small changes.