Moldova intends to switch off Russian TV channels because of the abundance of propaganda materials in their programming. The nation’s government has approved the banning procedure, and the bill to that effect has been registered in the parliament, Newsru.com reported.
According to Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova Natalia Gherman, “unusual activity of the Russian press in Moldova in promoting an alternative direction of integration of Moldova” was noted as early as summer of 2013. “Moreover, it has been happening just as we have been pursuing the goal of European integration as an absolute priority of our domestic and foreign policy,” she told the audience of Europa Libera radio station. Gherman added that the Moldovan society “was unexpectedly subjected to a giant information campaign” that multiplied its efforts during the recent Ukrainian events.
The Coordination Council for Radio and Television (CCRT) is now checking Russian TV channels that have been covering the events in Ukraine for compliance with local laws on public information. It will focus its attention, in particular, on the First Channel, Russia-1, Russia-24, NTV and Ren-TV. According to ITAR-TASS, these are most popular TV channels in Moldova, since 90 percent of its population speaks Russian.
The Day asked Chisinau-based political analyst Oazu NANTOI to comment on the decision of the Moldovan authorities to ban the Russian media.
“The Republic of Moldova’s information space is indeed dominated by channels broadcast from the Russian Federation. Channels such as Russia-24 do exemplify frenzied propaganda, incitement to interethnic hatred, incitement to separatism, which is directed against the sovereignty of neighboring countries,” Nantoi noted. “Accordingly, any rule-of-law-based state should give a thought to what to do in such a case, as these are not mass media, but means of mass disinformation and manipulation.
“Given the fact that there is still a significant segment of the population in this country that consumes this ‘ideological porn,’ these people are under the influence of these channels, which leaves its mark on political processes. While Moldova suffers from this problem, it has not yet found a solution for it.”
How much influence do the Russian media have in the Republic of Moldova?
“Influence of the Russian media is inversely proportional to the critical thinking ability of their audience. Unfortunately, critical thinking is sorely lacking throughout the post-Soviet space. This is especially true of Russian-speaking people and those who are not looking for alternative sources of information on the Internet or other TV channels, even that sole Ukrainian TV channel which is included in the cable TV package in Chisinau.”
How do Moldovan journalists themselves confront the information war waged by the Kremlin?
“The problem is that the Russian media appeal mainly to instincts and not to reason. This is a sad asymmetry: rational arguments are difficult to use against a campaign which manipulates people by exploiting their instincts, and often base ones at that. Moldovans are concerned about this phenomenon. Those who are looking for information can find it. In particular, it concerns provisions of our Association Agreement with the EU, the latter’s features compared with the Russia-led Customs Union, etc. The Russian media focus their efforts on that segment of the population that does not seek information, but swallows it, allowing themselves to be manipulated.”