The government of the Republic of Moldova decided to close several media outlets a week ahead of local elections in the country.
Chișinău, Moldova, 30 October, 2023 – Today, the Commission for Exceptional Situations of Moldova closed six private TV channels and 31 online media platforms under the claim of promoting foreign interests. The decision comes one week before the nationwide local elections that are scheduled to take place on 5 November 2023. This move, following the previous closure of six more TV channels in December 2022, leaves Moldova with no more active press and media outlets that express unpopular to the government opinion.
Earlier in the year, the journalists and staff of the six channels closed in December 2022, formed an international non-profit organisation Stop Media Ban with the mission to stand against media censorship and fight for the freedom of the press worldwide. Ludmila Belcencova, President of Stop Media Ban, commented that the move shows the unprecedented case of censorship of media and the Moldovan population for Moldova:
“This decision is an unpreceded case of a full-scale censorship of opinions in a country that claims to be a democracy. The government banned all media outlets that were sharing opinions different from the government agenda. A democratic government cannot silence its population one week before the national local elections and claim to be a pro-Western democracy,” states Belcencova.
“It is scary that the Western world is watching the Moldovan government censoring its population but does nothing about it. You can see similar cases of media censorship in the playbooks of Hungary, Belarus, Russia, China, and the like. Are the Western democracies such as the European Union and the United States supporting the silencing of the population?” added Belcencova.
“The free press should be the fourth estate of democracy. Journalists should be able to publish and share information free from official governmental censorship. Journalism is an apolitical profession; our mission is to keep our society informed and allow them to make their own decisions to hold the government accountable. This is the true sense of democracy. That is why they are trying to silence us, there is no more freedom of speech in Moldova,” concluded Belcencova.
Earlier today, the Central Electoral Commission of Moldova also announced that it will not be holding exit polls during the first round of the local elections on 5 November.
Stop Media Ban