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 - 2016 Introduction
Overall Country Score: 2.38
In 2015, the Republic of Moldova went through a profound sociopolitical crisis. The contest between pro-European and pro-Russian parties in the March elections for governor of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, the local general elections in June, scandals related to the airport concession in 2013, and the plundering of three banks—including the largest, BEM—known as “the theft of the billion” all shook Moldovan society. The elections in Gagauzia were won by the former Communist and pro-Russian Irina Vlah. In Chişinău, the incumbent Liberal Party mayor won a heated contest against the pro-Russian Socialist Party candidate. In Bălţi, the largest city in the northern part of the country, Renato Usatai, a controversial politician and businessman with dealings in Russia and the leader of Our Party (OP), won decisively the election for mayor. Ilan Shor, another controversial businessman who, according to the media, was involved in the “theft of the billion” and was tied to several criminal cases, became the mayor of Orhei, located 40 kilometers from Chişinău.
Five prime ministers were replaced in 2015. When the government of Iurie Leancă was not approved by Parliament at the beginning of the year, Leancă left the Liberal-Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM). In February, after voting with the Communist Party (CPRM), the LDPM and the Democratic Party (DP) invested a minority government headed by Chiril Gaburici, who resigned in mid-June. At the end of July, a new LDPM government run by Valeriu Streleț was invested. He was discharged on October 29 as a result of a no-confidence motion. By the end of the year, no new government had been invested by the Parliament.
The political instability in the country generated social instability. In the spring, the so-called civic platform Dignity and Truth was established and organized protests against the government in Chişinău and elsewhere that saw the participation of tens of thousands from all over the country. On September 6, the platform announced non-stop protests and set up tents in front of the Large National Assembly, the main square in the country. At the end of the year, the members of Dignity and Truth announced that they would create a political party.
Compared with last year when the EU Association Agreement was signed, the pro-European messages of the authorities and of the media saw a dramatic decrease in intensity and visibility. Instead, the political battles polarized the media, some of which openly went to the barricades. For example, some of the most influential media outlets, affiliated with the DP, covered the local elections with heavy bias in favor of DP candidates. Persistent propaganda from Kremlin-controlled Russian stations rebroadcast in Moldova and an online portal of the Russian multimedia news agency Sputnik was launched in Chişinău, further destabilizing the media sector.
IREX Asks for Civil Society Perspective on the Media
New for 2016, a separate panel of civil society representatives from Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine conducted an analysis of the performance of the media in their countries from an outside perspective. This sixth objective of the media assesses whether the media effectively serves the needs of the public, particularly concerning social cohesion and gender issues, reflects the diversity of society, and whether the public can discern the partisan or advertorial content.
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.