Saturday, June 3, 2023

Moldova suspends 6 TV channels over alleged misinformation

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — The broadcast licenses of six television channels in Moldova have been suspended on charges of misinformation, inaccurate coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine and “attempts to manipulate public opinion.”

The decision to revoke the licenses of channels in Moldova, RTR Moldova, Accent TV, NTV Moldova, TV6 and Orhei TV, was announced late on Friday by Moldova’s Emergency Situations Commission, which was set up after Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. I went.

The commission said the suspensions were made after a review by the Audiovisual Council of Moldova found “a lack of correct information in the coverage of national events, but also of the war in Ukraine.” It also said that the purpose of the suspension was to “prevent the risk of disinformation … or attempts to manipulate public opinion.”

Four of the six suspended channels – the first in Moldova, RTR Moldova, NTV Moldova and TV6 – regularly rebroadcast programs from Russian TV channels, which were banned by the European Council on Friday amid a new wave of sanctions against Russia. Was banned as part.

The banned Russian broadcasters, the Council of the European Union said, “are under the direct or indirect control of the leadership of the Russian Federation and have been used by the latter for its sustained and concerted disinformation and war propaganda operations.”

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political cartoon

TV6 called the suspension “completely unfounded” and “an unprecedented attack on freedom of expression, editorial freedom (and) freedom of journalists”.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the channel said the commission’s argument was “not only completely baseless, but also completely wrong”.

Some of the suspended channels are owned by people close to Ilan Shor, a fugitive Moldovan oligarch who leads the Russia-friendly Shor party. The party has organized major protests against the pro-Western government in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, in recent months.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu hailed the suspensions, saying they were “an important step to stop attempts to destabilize the country”.

“We cannot accept that in this challenging period, the security of the state and the peaceful lives of citizens are threatened by fugitives who want only one thing – to escape justice,” he said in a statement.

Shor has been implicated in a $1 billion bank fraud and other illegal schemes, and last week the United Kingdom added him to an international sanctions list. He is also accused of paying bribes to secure his position as head of a Moldovan bank in 2014 and was recently named on the US State Department’s sanctions list as working for Russian interests.

Moldova, a former Soviet republic of 2.6 million people, is one of the poorest countries in Europe. It has been grappling with skyrocketing inflation and an energy crisis, including widespread power cuts last month following Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid, to which Moldova’s systems are connected.

McGrath reported from Sighisoara, Romania.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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