Status: Not Free
Legal Environment: 20
Political Influences: 26
Economic Pressures: 19
Total Score: 65

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 68
Religious Groups: Eastern Orthodox (98 percent), Jewish (1.5 percent), other [including Baptist] (0.5 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Moldovan/Romanian (64.5 percent), Ukrainian (13.8 percent), Russian (13 percent), Bulgarian (2 percent), Jewish (1.5 percent), other [including Gaguauz] (5.2 percent)
Capital: Chisinau

Despite President Vladimir Voronin's repeated calls for media freedom, critics continue to deplore government interference in Moldovan media. The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and of the press, but legislation prohibiting defamation of senior officials and insults against the state impinges on these freedoms. The parliament decriminalized libel in April, helping to move Moldova toward international standards. However, fines for libel under the civil code remain unlimited, and prosecuted media outlets continued to receive penalties of more than US$100,000 each in 2004. In July, the Supreme Court dropped two lawsuits brought by journalists who were denied access to information.

Events at Teleradio-Moldova, the former public broadcaster, dominated the media landscape in 2004. In February, the government decided to dismiss all staff members, a move criticized as a means of allowing the government to get rid of disloyal journalists. As the rehiring process got under way, journalists complained about discrimination and lack of transparency in procedures, and protests continued through the end of the year. Domestic and international observers accuse Teleradio-Moldova of pro-government bias. The broadcast licenses of independent Chisinau stations Antena C Radio and Euro TV were temporarily revoked in February; officially the stations had not been properly registered, but critics accused the government of targeting the stations because they do not back the president. Investigative journalist Alina Anghel of the weekly newspaper Timpul was attacked with a metal bar in June, the day before she was due to testify in a libel case against her paper for an article she wrote. She said she had previously received threatening phone calls and did not recognize the men officials eventually arrested for the crime, which was called a simple robbery.

The print media express diverse political views, and the number of private media outlets grew this year. However, the majority of print and broadcast media outlets are financed directly or indirectly by various political or ethnic interests, and the law prohibits foreign investment in domestic publications. Instead, foreign-supported publications are financed through "foundations." Only Teleradio-Moldova's television station broadcasts nationwide. All Moldovan media suffer from a lack of professionalism, including subjective reporting, and self-censorship is common. Authorities in the breakaway region of Transnistria maintain tight control of media there. In September, a cameraman from TV Moldova 1 was imprisoned in Transnistria for one week.

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