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Moldova - Footprint of Financial Crisis in the Media (2009)

Moldova - Footprint of Financial Crisis in the Media (2009)

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Published by OSFJournalism
This Open Society Institute Media Program study explores the impact of the financial crisis on media and news delivery to citizens in 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The global economic downturn has affected countless businesses across the region, forcing them to slash costs, lay off employees, and reduce output. Media businesses are no exception. However, when media businesses are hit, it is not just their turnover that suffers: their primary function, the delivery of news to citizens, feels the impact too.

To explore the impact of the crisis on independent media and accountability journalism, the Media Program carried out a study in 18 post-socialist countries heavily hit by the crisis: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

The study looks at media performance in 2009 compared with the previous three years, explores the cost-saving measures taken by significant news carriers, and the effects of these measures on output, breadth and depth of coverage, scope of investigative reporting, and opportunities for open public debate.

Key Findings
Media across the region have lost 30 to 60 percent of their income.
Media were forced to adopt cost-saving measures, including reduced volume, staff layoffs, reduced investigative reporting, and cuts in international and provincial coverage.
Several media markets have experienced a flight of foreign investors and bankruptcies of independent outlets.
The crisis-related constraints and ownership changes have caused an overall drop in the quality of news delivery to citizens.
Media content has become shallower, more entertainment-centered, increasingly isolationist, more prone to political and business influences, and lacking in investigative bite.
This Open Society Institute Media Program study explores the impact of the financial crisis on media and news delivery to citizens in 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The global economic downturn has affected countless businesses across the region, forcing them to slash costs, lay off employees, and reduce output. Media businesses are no exception. However, when media businesses are hit, it is not just their turnover that suffers: their primary function, the delivery of news to citizens, feels the impact too.

To explore the impact of the crisis on independent media and accountability journalism, the Media Program carried out a study in 18 post-socialist countries heavily hit by the crisis: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

The study looks at media performance in 2009 compared with the previous three years, explores the cost-saving measures taken by significant news carriers, and the effects of these measures on output, breadth and depth of coverage, scope of investigative reporting, and opportunities for open public debate.

Key Findings
Media across the region have lost 30 to 60 percent of their income.
Media were forced to adopt cost-saving measures, including reduced volume, staff layoffs, reduced investigative reporting, and cuts in international and provincial coverage.
Several media markets have experienced a flight of foreign investors and bankruptcies of independent outlets.
The crisis-related constraints and ownership changes have caused an overall drop in the quality of news delivery to citizens.
Media content has become shallower, more entertainment-centered, increasingly isolationist, more prone to political and business influences, and lacking in investigative bite.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: OSFJournalism on Jul 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/25/2012

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Footprint of Financial Crisis in the Media
MOLDOVA country reportCompiled by Bunduchi IonCommissioned by Open Society InstituteDecember 2009
 
FOOTPRINT OF FINANCIAL CRISIS IN THE MEDIA2
Economy
In recent years the remittances of over 300,000 Moldovan migrants working abroad, which haveincreased tenfold within the last eight years, have helped to reduce poverty and ensure increasedbudget revenues. However, despite the economic growth registered in the last eight years (62.9 percent), Moldova is still the poorest European country. Poverty, prices and unemployment are factorsthat worry the local population most of all.In 2009, the economic crisis in Moldova was additionally aggravated by two internal subjectivefactors.
On the eve of the election year, the government concealed information about the crisis,although its effects were already felt in the last quarter
 
of 2008.
The government wrongly considered that the crisis would have its maximum impact in the firstquarter of 2009, after which the economy would start to recover.According to the
2009/2010 National Human Development Report 
published by the United NationsDevelopment Programme, Moldova was in 117th place in 2009, six positions lower than in 2008,together with Guinea, Vietnam and Mongolia. The rural population constitutes about 59 per cent ofthe total population and about 66 per cent of the poor.The number of officially registered unemployed as of 1 October 2009, according to the data of theNational Employment Agency, was about 37,000. The number of unemployed according to thedefinition of the International Labour Organisation was about 83,000 in the second quarter of 2009.
 
The unemployment level doubled in the second quarter of 2009 as compared with the previous year(6.1 per cent compared with 3 per cent). Data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the secondquarter show a continuous decline in the employment level, which has reached a historic low of 43.1per cent
 
The financial crisis forced many migrants from Moldova to return home. It should be noted that of thetwo countries, Russia and Italy, that receive 80 per cent of migrant workers from Moldova, the formerwas most affected; about 37,000 Moldovan migrants left Russia and about 8,000 left Italy. In the firsteight months of 2009, the volume of private bank transfers from abroad diminished by 33 per centcompared with the same period of the previous year.
 
FOOTPRINT OF FINANCIAL CRISIS IN THE MEDIA3
Media market
The only complex study of the media market was carried out in Moldova in 2007 by the IndependentJournalism Centre. According to the study, 420 out of approximately 500 media outlets more or lessregularly produce a certain volume of news.According to the study, editorial teams included 1,880 full-time professionals, the majority of whomworked for the printed press. More than half (54.5 per cent) of media companies are concentrated inChisinau, the capital of Moldova.The majority of media companies (258 out of 420) are private. However, there are also organisationsregistered as state institutions, NGOs, public associations, cooperatives and a party property. Of 72state media companies, 82 per cent are the printed press, the biggest share acting in rural areas (52per cent). This fact does not contribute to fair competition and developing a viable media market.There are 20–30 more influential daily and weekly newspapers. At the regional and local levels, thereare around 15 independent weekly newspapers, which have a greater impact on their readerscompared with state publications because of their circulation. As a cost-saving measure, daily andweekly newspapers are published in black and white. Their circulations differ and, moreover, are notaudited. In the second half of 2009, after a failure in 2006, the Audit Bureau of Circulations andInternet was created. However, there has been no audit yet. Daily newspapers with a print run ofmore than 10,000 copies (partly in order to be attractive for advertisers), are few in number.According to journalists from local publications, advertising contributes 10–20 per cent to therevenues. The remaining amount comes from sales.In November 2009, 48 terrestrial TV stations and nine satellite TV stations, including those which hadbeen broadcasting for a long time—TVM International, Prime, EuTV and TV Dixi—held broadcastlicences in Moldova. The last three broadcast a minimum volume of news. A new TV channel, PublikaTV, was due to be launched in February 2010. It is being financed by private foreign investment (fromRomania, see below) and plans to broadcast a significant share of news.In compliance with the legislation in force, there are two public broadcasters in Moldova: the nationalone, the National Public Broadcasting Institution (NPBI), Teleradio-Moldova; and the regional one, theRegional Public Broadcasting Institution (RPBI), Teleradio-Gagauzia. Public broadcasters arefinanced by the state budget, but they are not prohibited from obtaining revenue from commercialadvertising, which is their advantage compared with private broadcasters. During the years of their

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