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ARTICLE 19 welcomes new broadcasting law, recommends changes to protect private and community stations

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is a 30 July 2007 ARTICLE 19 press release:

ARTICLE 19 Welcomes new Moldovan Broadcasting Law, Recommends Changes to Protect Private and Community Broadcasters

A new Note released by the ARTICLE 19 Law Programme comments on the Audiovisual Code enacted by the Moldovan parliament in 2006 and offers recommendations on how to further strengthen broadcasting freedom and diversity.

The Note follows on from an earlier analysis of the draft Code, which led to significant improvement of the text prior to its adoption. While observing problems in its implementation, the Note offers a positive overall assessment of the Code, which regulates both private and public broadcasting in Moldova.

The Note particularly welcomes the new structure safeguarding the independence of the two bodies charged with administering licences for private broadcasting and with overseeing the public service broadcaster, as well as the criteria for licence allocation and the mandate of the public broadcaster. We hope that these new measures will have a positive impact and contribute to realising the public's right to a pluralistic broadcasting sector. But the Note does identify some outstanding problems, including:

- The Code fails to reserve frequencies for community broadcasting and to provide a low-cost licensing option for not-for-profit broadcasters.
- There is no requirement for the composition of the two regulatory bodies to broadly reflect the diversity of Moldovan society.
- Private broadcasters face a range of different, unpredictable fees and must apply for broadcasting and technical licences separately, making entry into the market unnecessarily complicated.
- The obligations of broadcasters, in particular to ensure their service is "equitable", "balanced", "impartial", "comprehensive", "objective" and "accurate", require further clarification in a Code of Conduct.

The Note can be downloaded at
The 2006 Memorandum on the Audiovisual Code is available at

ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works globally to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.

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