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 - 2015 Introduction
Overall Country Score: 2.38
As the crisis in neighboring Ukraine worsened in 2014, the security of Moldova rapidly became a hot topic.
Local authorities in the autonomous region of Găgăuzia carried out a referendum asking residents whether they support integration with a Russia-led customs union or with the European Union (EU). Their actions sparked protests in Chişinău and prompted the central government to call for an investigation, categorizing it as illegal and threatening Moldova’s sovereignty. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that nearly 70 percent of Găgăuzia’s 155,000 residents (mostly ethnically Găgăuz, Turkic-speaking Orthodox Christians) turned out to vote. Nearly 98.4 percent of voters were in favor of closer relations with Russia. However, the referendum was not monitored.
In early spring, it became clear that Russia is waging an information war in Moldova and other ex-Soviet countries. Civil society members expressed concern about what they deemed as propaganda being rebroadcast by Russian channels. Public discontent culminated with Member of Parliament (MP) Ana Gutu’s request in April for the national broadcasting regulator to take action; the regulator promised to monitor the channels.
On April 28, Moldova became the first country in the Eastern Partnership (the EU-designated group of the former Soviet republics) to obtain visa-free travel to the EU. Some analysts assessed this development as the second most important in Moldova’s history, after the declaration of independence. Several months later the EU signed the Association and Free Trade Agreement with Moldova, later ratified by the Moldovan Parliament.
In September, Russia levied customs duties on a variety of Moldovan goods without regard to provisions outlined in bilateral agreements and the statutes of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The duties compounded the effects of Russia’s earlier bans on Moldovan imports, resulting in a $200 million dollar loss to Moldova’s economy. However, the Association and Free Trade Agreement simultaneously entered into force, allowing exporters to direct their products to other markets.
The year ended with a controversial parliamentary election campaign, in which the Kremlin-backed Socialist Party won an unexpected 25 percent of the vote. The coalition agreement was finally signed, but only by the Democrats and Liberal Democrats and with tacit support from Communists. The pro-Russian and pro-EU voters are equally unhappy with the current situation. With the exception of a few national outlets, the media’s political persuasions were reflected in biased coverage of the election.
Notice of Rights: Permission is granted to display, copy, and distribute the MSI in whole or in part, provided that: (a) the materials are used with the acknowledgement “The Media Sustainability Index (MSI) is a product of IREX with funding from USAID.”; (b) the MSI is used solely for personal, noncommercial, or informational use; and (c) no modifications of the MSI are made.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are those of the panelists and other project researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or IREX.