Public Call to the Broadcasting Council: We call on the public authority to fulfill in good faith its obligation of ensuring the public interest in the audiovisual area

In the context of the poor administrative practices of the Broadcasting Council, developed during the exercise of its functional tasks during the election period for the early parliamentary elections of 11 July 2021, The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and media NGOs, signatories to this appeal:

  • Underline the primordial role of the Broadcasting Council (BC) in promoting and protecting the public interest for ensuring a pluralistic and objective information of the population — an interest that is higher than the political, economic, commercial, ideological or other interests.
  • Recall that, according to the legal provisions, BC is the warrantor of the public interest in the audiovisual area;
  • Note that the current legislation offers the BC public authority extensive legal mechanisms to exercise duties of supervision and control of audiovisual media service providers’ compliance with the law;
  • Denote the unacceptability of tolerating the conduct of providers who blatantly disregard the provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Code, Audiovisual Media Content Regulation and Regulation on the coverage of election campaign for early parliamentary elections of 11 July 2021;
  • Underline the prejudicial nature of certain audiovisual media service providers’ actions and note that they severely violate the constitutional right to provide correct information to all citizens, as guaranteed by law;
  • Regard as regrettable the practice of BC’s unjustified invocation of freedom of expression as a pretext for protecting certain providers from sanctions. As a human value, freedom of speech has limits to remain a value;
  • Deeply regret the arbitrary BC’s denials to monitor the behavior of providers during the whole election period and the reluctance to review the complaints filed by individuals and civil society members that report serious violations;
  • Express bewilderment regarding the unjustified and unexplainable authority’s tolerance towards the providers who covered the election campaign during the early parliamentary elections, evidently and certainly flouting the provisions of the law in force;

We call on the Broadcasting Council, by the virtue of its duties envisioned by law:

  • To carry out its supervision and control tasks with maximum diligence and in good faith;
  • To order monitoring of the conduct of audiovisual media services providers throughout the election period;
  • To react promptly and effectively to detected cases of derogation from the audiovisual media legislation;
  • Not to allow disregarding the efforts of its own Monitoring Department by neglecting serious deviations committed by some providers, reflected in Broadcasting Council’s own monitoring reports;
  • To prioritize the public interest for ensuring correct and objective information of the population and to address the harmful administrative practice developed during the election period for the early parliamentary elections of 11 July 2021.