The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.
In Moldova, the combination of digitization and political change has increased the diversity of media outlets and their news, the plurality of opinions, and the transparency of public institutions, while it has diminished political interference in the media.Yet the lack of independence of regulatory institutions, the nontransparent media ownership structure, and the slow pace of digital switch-over continue to undermine these achievements.
In order to reinforce positive change, this report proposes four kinds of reform. Firstly, the legal framework for digital switch-over must be completed in the near future if the country is to be ready for the transition before the switch-off date. The provisions for public interest, access, and affordability should be given priority and, for this purpose, participation of civil society groups in the drafting process is vital. This framework will also speed up the adoption of the new Broadcasting Code, a historic document that will end the era of non-transparent media ownership, the second area that needs urgent reform.
Thirdly, with public awareness of the purpose and implications of switch-over virtually nonexistent, an information campaign and public debate on the issue need to start without delay. Finally, the independence of two key institutions, the Broadcasting Coordinating Council and the PSB, needs to be strengthened. In both cases, this can be done by changing funding models and adopting clearer regulatory safeguards against government interference.