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DISINFORMATION: The government in Chisinau has instated a dictatorial regime, which fights against the free press

Disinformation

The pro-European government in Chisinau is censoring the press and getting rid of inconvenient media, according to a false narrative promoted by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The narrative is used by politnavigator.net and taken over by news-front.ru to justify possible response measures from Moscow.

NEWS: “The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has once again drawn attention to the situation in Moldova. The deputy director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian MFA, Ivan Necheaev, has stressed in a briefing that a large number of fellow Russian citizens live in Moldova. Moscow is mainly alarmed by the situation regarding the free press in Moldova.

The Moldovan authorities are openly putting pressure on the free and opposition press. The informational space is being cleared of opinions and assessments that are no to the liking of the authorities, Necheaev said.

 [...]

The West, which is the real master of Moldova and the one that controls its media space, has long stopped hiding its violation of the right to freedom of expression. Any media that expresses a position unfavorable to the Euro-Atlantic states is declared an organ of propaganda and closed. No speaker, neither from the West nor from the states they control, has come up with clear criteria that differentiate between coverage of events and “propaganda”.

[...]

The call of the Russian MFA on the authorities of the Republic of Moldova “to review its policy of undermining the rights and freedoms of its own citizens and to take the necessary measures to ensure their full observance”, will most likely be ignored by Chisinau. There is no doubt that the usual requests are to be made, “to evacuate the military troops from the territory of the Republic of Moldova” and to end the war in Ukraine”.

Reality

NARRATIVES: 1. The authorities in Chisinau are violating the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. 2. Chisinau is behaving provocatively towards Moscow, which will have to react.

LOCAL CONTEXT/ETOS: The Republic of Moldova is the most vulnerable and exposed country in Central and Eastern Europe to Russian propaganda, according to the study “Resistance to disinformation in Central and Eastern Europe”, conducted in 2018. It analyzed to what extent the 14 monitored states were vulnerable to Russian propaganda based on three indicators: how exposed the population was to disinformation and propaganda; countermeasures by the state; vulnerability to digital warfare.

The study found that in the Republic of Moldova there were three large groups more likely to be manipulated by the media than the rest of the population: the Russian-speaking ethnic minorities, which accounted for almost 20% of the population, some active parishioners of the Moldovan Orthodox Church, who obeyed the Russian Orthodox Church and who were likely to be influenced by it, and the more than 700,000 elderly people, whose average level of education was lower than that of the rest of the population.

Internal monitoring reports also found that Russian TV stations rebroadcast in the Republic of Moldova were used as propaganda tools.

In 2018, Parliament voted a law banning the broadcasting of certain categories of programs such as news, political debates and military shows from states that had not ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, including from the Russian Federation. However, the provisions were canceled in 2020 by a parliamentary majority led by the pro-Russia Party of Socialists.

Parliament voted a similar law on June 2nd,  in an attempt to reduce disinformation against the background of the war in Ukraine.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Intelligence and Security Service has blocked several websites that were distributing fake news, and information inciting to hatred, war or violence. They were online platforms in both Russian and Romanian.

Lately, the Russian press, pro-Russian politicians in the Republic of Moldova, but also official voices in Moscow have criticized the authorities in Chisinau for putting pressure on the Russian-language and Russian-based media.

PURPOSE: To present the government in Chisinau as anti-democratic, one that violates the rights of the Russian citizens, and to justify possible punitive actions from Moscow.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The authorities in Chisinau have taken several measures in recent months, after the Russian invasion, against propaganda and disinformation, but they have not been directed strictly against the media in Russia or any other country. The law that bans certain categories of TV broadcasts refers to a certain category of states – those that have not ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television. ISS has blocked websites in both Romanian and Russian, and just like the Broadcasting Council has warned and fined both Romanian and Russian language stations. The fact that these measures are affecting the Russian-language media only shows that the said media arevinvolved in the massive spread of fake news and disinformation.

The Republic of Moldova rose in the  Press Freedom Index , compiled by the Reporters Without Borders international organization, from 89th place in 2021, to 40th place this year.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: In the Republic of Moldova, some measures have been taken in the fight against disinformation and propaganda, which often affects the pro-Kremlin press, which often publishes disinformation and fake news.

OFFICIAL REACTIONS: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration in Chisinau has rejected the “allegations”  in the statements made by the Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow, Ivan Necheaev.

“This statement does not correspond to the objective assessments, compliant with the European and international standards, formulated by prestigious organizations that are monitoring the freedom of the press, as well as international organizations to which our country is a party”, a comment by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , Daniel Voda, reads.According to the Chisinau diplomacy, “authorities will continue the sustained efforts to help ensure a correct information and to build a civil society and a media independent of any interests, emphasizing that pluralism, independence and the safety of journalists are basic components of the right to free expression and information, being essential for a democratic functioning in accordance with our EU accession aspirations”.

Tags: Republica Moldova , mass-media , Russia , propaganda
  • Publication / Media:
    politnavigator.net
  • Date of publication:
    14/08/2022
  • Target audience:
    Russian audience, national minorities and pro-Russians in the Republic of Moldova
  • Amplification:
    news-front.info
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    The anti-Russia authorities in Chisinau are violating the freedom of the press principle, affecting Russians’ interests, which might trigger a reaction from Moscow.
Veridica

17 Aug 2022

Updated at: 17 Aug 2022 23:48:21
Veridica

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36 minutes read
  • The pro-European government in Chisinau is censoring the press and getting rid of inconvenient media, according to a false narrative promoted by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The narrative is used by politnavigator.net and taken over by news-front.ru to justify possible response measures from Moscow.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. The authorities in Chisinau are violating the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. 2. Chisinau is behaving provocatively towards Moscow, which will have to react.
  • PURPOSE: To present the government in Chisinau as anti-democratic, one that violates the rights of the Russian citizens, and to justify possible punitive actions from Moscow.
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