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Gagauzia Region in Moldova: Proposed Media Law Raises Concerns Over Press Freedom and Cultural Identity

The proposed media law in Moldova’s Gagauzia region has sparked concerns over press freedom and cultural identity. Here’s a summary of the key points:

Gagauzia Region in Moldova
Gagauzia Region in Moldova

Gagauzia Region in Moldova

  1. Challenges from Media NGOs: Nine media NGOs in Moldova are challenging the draft legislation, which requires online media outlets to obtain authorization to operate. This move raises concerns about press freedom in the region.
  2. Alleged Influence from Oligarch Ilan Shor: The proposed law is believed to be driven by regional authorities and influenced by oligarch Ilan Shor. It is seen as targeting independent media outlets like Nokta.md, known for criticizing local authorities and uncovering corruption.
  3. Accusations of Control over Local Media: President of the Independent Press Association (API), Petru Macovei, accused Shor of attempting to control local media through this legislation. The law aims to reduce the impact of critical online media and alter broadcast language quotas in favor of Russian.
  4. Concerns of Hindering Critical Journalism: Mihail Sirkeli, founder of Nokta.md, expressed concerns that the new rules would hinder journalists critical of local authorities, affecting the Gagauz people’s access to quality information.
  5. Changes to Broadcast Language Quotas: The draft law plans to modify operating regulations for the public broadcaster Gagauziya Radio Televizionu (GRT) and create an authorization system for private online media. Currently, Gagauzia’s TV broadcasts 75% in the Gagauz language, but the proposed change aims for a 50-50 split between Gagauz and Russian languages ahead of Moldova’s presidential elections and a referendum on European integration.
  6. Cultural and Political Dynamics: Gagauzia, home to about 150,000 Orthodox Christian ethnic Turks, has a pro-Russian stance due to the dominant use of the Russian language and less familiarity with the Gagauz language among the youth. This proposed law has sparked debate over its impact on press freedom and the region’s cultural identity.

Overall, the proposed media law in Moldova’s Gagauzia region has raised concerns about potential restrictions on press freedom and its implications for cultural and political dynamics in the region.

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