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Major Moldovan channel Jurnal TV to reduce its program, due to rent pressure and “unequal fight with oligarchic system”

On January 12th, Jurnal Trust Media, the managing trust of the major Moldovan channel Jurnal TV, issued a statement on the reducing of the content of TV program beginning from 16 January 2017.

According to Jurnal Trust Media, the cause for the reducing is the request of the owner of the TV channel building to stop the rent contract and to quit the building in 35 days. The managers of the media holding believe that this action of the owner who has been renting out the building for 7 years was concerted by the oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc.

Quoted by Agora.MD, Capital Estate SRL, the owner of the TV channel building, declared that it decided to end the rent contract after several attempts to recover the debt for the rent for previous months.

This last action is allegedly just one of Plahotniuc’s attempts to undermine its power: the targeted attacks of oligarch’s media outlets on Jurnal TV, the attempts to exclude Jurnal TV from Moldtelecom digital TV offers, the multiple perturbations of TV signal, the unfair competition along with the intimidation of the commercial partners, the lack of an objective measurement of audience, monopoly on the advertisement market. Jurnal TV stresses the partisan and discriminatory attitude of the Coordinating Audiovisual Council, that several times imposed allegedly illegal sanctions, impossible to challenge due to the lack of independent and equitable justice.

The media outlet blames it on Plahotniuc, who subjugated and took under his control the institutions in Moldova, making it a captured state:

“This oligarchic system intends to suppress at any price the freedom of expression, to distort the reality, to manipulate the public opinion”, reads the statement.

Jurnal TV will thus be obliged to keep broadcasting only little of its own content.

Nevertheless, Jurnal Trust Media calls for resistance and promises to provide new television, television of the People(!).

Jurnal Trust Media and Jurnal TV, in particular, is known for having a harsh position on the oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc and his media outlets. At the same time, Jurnal TV was several times accused for exposing too much of the activity of the party Platform “Dignity and Truth”, emerged as a protest movement in 2015 and indirectly linked to the owner of the media trust, Victor Țopa. Țopa is currently residing in refuge in Germany, after a condemnation in a trial related to his ex-business partner, now-enemy Vlad(imir) Plahotniuc.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy.

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Chișinău and Tiraspol sign protocols to solve issues of Latin script schools, telecommunication, diploma recognition and land ownership

On November 25th, the political negotiators of the Republic of Moldova and the separatist Transnistrian administration met in Bender to discuss technical issues ahead of the upcoming 5+2 negotiations in Vienna.

Accompanied by 5+2 mediators and observers, Reintegration Minister George Balan and the so-called “foreign minister” Vitalyi Ignatiev signed 4 protocols elaborated at the expert groups level. The protocols focus on 4 key issues:

  • Recognition of diplomas issued by education institutions in the Transnistrian region– the parties agreed to Chișinău accepting (apostillation) a neutral diploma issued in Transnistria;
  • Elimination of barriers in the telecommunication domain- establishing a direct connection of fixed and the mobile telephone network, as well as internet, after the negotiations between operators on both banks of Nistru river;
  • Elimination of barriers to the functioning of Romanian language (Latin script) schools in Transnistria- setting minimal rent and utility prices for the buildings rented out to these schools, setting 10 years as the minimal rent period for the buildings, providing the adjacent lands in use to the schools, providing conditions for free movement of teachers and pupils of these schools, but also the needed materials for their functioning;
  • Allowing farmers to use their lands across Tiraspol-Camenca road in Dubăsari district- applying the “2006 Mechanism” of distributing the lands to those persons owning them initially, stopping the use of lands by Transnistrian firms or persons (2014 distribution), stopping the penal cases against the latter by Chișinău.

Solutions to these problems are expected to be delivered by the joint expert groups.

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2017 Eastern Partnership Summit ends: EU encourages EaP countries to continue reforms, acknowledges “European choice” of MD, UA, GE

Representatives of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the representatives of the European Union and the Heads of State or Government and representatives of its Member States have met in Brussels on 24 November 2017. During their meeting, they agreed on a joint declaration on the Eastern Partnership.

The declaration, however, does not bring new dimensions to the Eastern Partnership. Everyone reconfirmed their commitment and the high importance they attach to the Partnership. The EU, in particular, reaffirmed its commitment to support the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all its partners- a hint on Ukraine’s hybrid war with Russia. Due to the fact that 5 out of 6 EaP countries have such problems, the Summit participants called for renewed efforts to promote the peaceful settlement of unresolved conflicts, though not named in the declaration, in the region on the basis of international law.

In the declaration, the European Union and its Member States acknowledged the European aspirations and European choice of partners who signed association agreements with the EU, namely Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine; while recognizing the right for other partners to choose the level of ambition they aspire to in their relations with the EU. Some compared these statements as being too similar to those from the Riga Summit in 2015.

The 20 deliverables for 2020 framework was welcomed as the way to improve the lives of citizens of the Eastern European states in four priority areas with a focus on good governance, better transport links, energy security, independent media and people mobility.

The European Council President, Donald Tusk, made it clear that the Eastern Partnership will develop on both economic and societal dimensions:

“We want to reinforce Eastern Partnership cooperation in a number of specific areas such as small and medium-sized enterprises, digital economy, broadband investments, and investments in transport, energy and infrastructure projects. The list is long. But above all, we want to strengthen links between our citizens and give more support to civil society”, said Tusk, alongside with Estonia’s PM Juri Ratas and EU Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker at the closing press conference.

In the margins of the summit, the EU and Armenia signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, as well as an Aviation Agreement.

Moldova’s Prime-Minister Pavel Filip underlined that this EaP Summit was important for all the partners to reevaluate the partnership, its aims, and its future. According to him, the Partnership is very important for Moldova in this critical period of difficult reforms unpopular decisions. However, at the arrival in the morning, Filip, did not approach the journalists and just passed them smiling, as compared to representatives of other states.

The EaP was launched in 2009 to promote the political association and economic integration between the EU and the six Eastern European partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

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New round of 5+2 talks to take place in Vienna during November 27-28

A new round of 5+2 negotiations will take place in Vienna during November 27-28. The information was communicated to IPN by Moldova’s Minister for Reintegration and chief negotiator, George Balan, who received the invitation on the afternoon of November 14th.

According to Balan, Moldova’s proposals for the agenda of the 5+2 meeting will include the “Berlin plus” package (Berlin protocol): the problem of access to farmlands, the situation of Latin script Romanian-language schools, and the movement of vehicles registered in the Transnistrian region.

The invitation was reportedly made by the mediators to the Transnistrian conflict settlement talks Russia, Ukraine, and OSCE.

5+2 negotiations regard the talks on the conflict resolution between the separatist authorities of the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic and the constitutional authorities of the Republic of Moldova, together with the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine as mediators, and the EU and the US as observers.

The latest round of the 5+2 talks was held in Bavaria in July 2016.

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