Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 20
Political Influences: 22
Economic Pressures: 17
Total Score: 59

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 68
Religious Groups: Eastern Orthodox (98.5 percent), other (1.5 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Moldovan/ Romanian (65 percent), Ukrainian (14 percent), Russian (13 percent), other (8 percent)
Capital: Chisinau

Independent media in Moldova face obstacles from restrictive libel laws, government pressure, and dependence upon state financing. Article 32 of the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the press. However, existing legislation prohibits insults against the state and defamation of senior government officials. These provisions have allowed for a multitude of lawsuits against journalists in the dozen years since independence. Consequently, self-censorship is common among journalists. Media professionals regularly risk harassment or physical assault, especially when reporting on corruption. In October, police arrested the chief editor and two reporters at the independent newspaper Accente. The paper was preparing to publish an investigative report on the director of the state security service. Earlier in the year, nearly 400 reporters at TeleRadio Moldova, the state television and radio broadcaster, held demonstrations to protest alleged censorship and demand greater independence for the media. The government eventually transferred control of TeleRadio Moldova to an independent corporation. Yet, questions remain over the editorial independence of this new body, as it will derive its sole funding from the state budget. The majority of print and broadcast outlets are privately owned but are nevertheless not entirely independent of government influence.

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