Background to Crisis at RTV Moldova

National TV journalists protest against censorship

Following some massive anti-Communist demonstrations in the capital Chisinau, journalists from the National Television (TVM) have declared their solidarity with the protesters and issued a statement of condemning the censorship enforced by the Communist ruling. For the first time since the protests broke out, anchors have presented their news bulletin without the authorities' tendentious declarations about the events. Wearing armlets on their right hands during the newscasts, journalists threatened with a general strike if the authorities will neglect demands listed in their statement. The National TV became lately a "tool for brainwashing the population" and an impediment for the public to receive "impartial and balanced information", the statement, signed by over 250 TVM employees, said. It asked the authorities to abolish censorship over the state TV and to "respect the democratic option of this country". Previously, TVM was repeatedly accused by the opposition forces and several NGOs for its servility towards the ruling party. Journalists create a solidarity press committee Several media outlets' editor-in-chiefs have formed a Solidarity Press Committee to monitor the situation at the National TV and Radio during their protest against the Communist censorship. The committee reunited directors from Antena C radio, Jurnal de Chisinau newspaper, journalists from the Independent Journalism Centre and others. At the same time, the Journalists' Union of Moldova (UJM) has issued a statement that pointed out the danger on the press freedom in Moldova. No results negotiations Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin, and the National TV Protesters Committee met for negotiations over the demands earlier formulated by the State journalists. The dialogue ended with no results. Reporters said the President came to the meeting unprepared. "He needed some time to read our claims", one of the Protesters Committee members said. President Voronin promised though to abolish the censorship with the condition that TVM will not support any political parties. Among the demands put together by the journalists there were listed the ones asking for freedom of expression observance, ensuring a correct reporting of anti-Communist demonstrations and abolishing the interdiction of using the terms 'Romanian', 'Romanian language', 'history of Romanians' and 'totalitarian regime'. National TV threatened to be sued Prior to the TVM's statement on censorship, parents of two girls have threatened to sue the National TV administration for featuring video shots of their children in a propagandistic TV ad. The spot, which was created in an aggressive manner, aimed at condemning the anti-Communist protests in Chisinau. The two girls' mothers said their children participated in the rallies but only under their supervision, while the spot was calling on the parents not to let their children on the streets.