UK Ambassador To Moldova Says Ban On Opposition Broadcasters Justified

CHISINAU (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 23rd December, 2022) UK Ambassador to Moldova Steven Fisher has said that the Moldovan government‘s move to shut down six opposition broadcasters amid mass protests was justified.

On December 16, the Moldovan authorities suspended the licenses of opposition and Russian-language broadcasters Primul in Moldova, RTR Moldova, Accent TV, NTV Moldova, TV6 and Orhei tv over allegations that they were inaccurately covering internal affairs and the Ukraine conflict. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow qualifies Chisinau‘s move as political censorship and a “cynical infringement on the rights of national minorities,” urging international organizations to assess these actions.

“The report of (Moldova’s) Audiovisual Council shows violations, which means that the decision of the Commission for Emergency Situations to temporarily suspend the broadcasting license of six television stations was correct,” Fisher said in an interview with the Moldovan broadcaster TV8 on Thursday.

Freedom of speech is important, but the authorities may decide to suspend the activities of certain media in specific circumstances, the ambassador stressed.

He also expressed the hope that the Moldovan government would make a practical decision on the future of these broadcasters.

The European Union‘s Ambassador to Moldova, Janis Mazeiks, on Wednesday urged the Moldovan authorities to explain the reasons for their decision.

On December 9, Moldovan Justice Minister Sergiu Litvinenco said that the government had proposed a draft of the Magnitsky Law of Moldova, which provides for sanctions against individuals and legal entities, including media organizations. It will allow the Audiovisual Council to revoke licenses of companies owned by, associated with, or endorsing persons on the blacklist.

In recent months, Moldova has been swept by mass protests led by the opposition Shor party over deteriorating living standards, soaring inflation and energy shortages. Protesters demand the government resign over its failure to tackle the multiple crises in the country.

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