Duma Slates Moldova’s Ban on Russian TV Shows

Russia's parliament has accused Moldova of anti-Russian discrimination, over the new 'anti-propaganda' law that effectively bans Russian broadcasts in the country.
Russian Duma in Moscow. photo:

Russia’s State Duma on Thursday presented a draft declaration, accusing Moldova of “discrimination” against Russia media, after Moldova’s interim president Andrian Candu approved the government-backed “anti-propaganda” law designed to curb the Russian media presence in the former Soviet republic.

Russian deputies called the gesture a “new anti-Russian step” by Moldova’s pro-Western government.

The law on the Amendment and Completion of the Audiovisual Code was promulgated on 10 January 2018 by acting President Candu.

The law forbids bans most television and radio programs not produced in the European Union, the US, or Canada, or by the states that have not ratified the European Convention on Transborder Television. Effectively, it hits Russian broadcasts.

The law sanctions broadcasters that violate the law, from fines of 4,000  to 5,000 euros up to canceling broadcasting licenses.

Russia has accused the leader of Moldova’s pro-European ruling party, Vlad Plahotniuc, of being behind the initiative. Two courts in Moscow issued decisions demanding that Plahotniuc be put on an international wanted list in November and December 2017.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, has warned 11 that Russia will take “responsive measures” to this law.

She criticized the ban on the transmission of Russian newscasts and analysis shows in Moldova and called for a reaction from the OSCE and other official European organizations.

Moscow insists the law violates international law on free access to information and limits the rights of an important part of the citizenry of Moldova.

Last week, the president of Russia’s Public Service Committee for the Development of Public Diplomacy, Humanitarian Cooperation and the Conservation of Traditional Values, Elena Sutormina, addressed the Council of Europe in connection with the law, and asked for a public statement on this issue.