Moldova’s media regulator has begun monitoring rebroadcasts from Russian television channels. “Information programs” on PrimeTV, TV7, RTR Moldova, RenTV and Rossia 24 will be viewed for compliance with rules against propaganda, announced the Audiovisual Coordinating Council (CCA), reported by news portal unimedia.info (April 17). CCA president Marian Pocaznoi is asking the Moldovan parliament to revise the Broadcasting Code to “allow prompt action in case of violations.”
Earlier this month Moldovan MP Ana Gutu asked the CCA to take action as the information war intensifies. “Russian media channels indulge in aggressive propaganda by which public opinion is fed lies… to justify aggression in Ukraine,” she wrote, quoted by unimedia.info (April 1). “There is evidence that these channels are feeding biased information inciting separatism, ethnic hatred and war.” She asked that stations rebroadcasting Russian programs replace them with locally produced news and entertainment programs.
Moldovans have been on edge watching events in Ukraine as two semi-autonomous regions – Transdniester and Gagauzia – continue to push for separation from Moldova and alliance with the Russian Federation.
The next board of directors meeting of Central European Media Enterprises (CME) will gather several new faces. A new chairman and three board members were appointed at a special general board meeting in Bermuda, where CME is tax domiciled, last week (April 14). The appointments follow the mid-March exit of company founder Ronald Lauder as non-executive chairman and board member.
Former Time Warner Cable COO John Billock was named non-executive chairman. The three new directors are Time Warner people: Gerhard Zeiler from Turner Broadcasting, Iris Knoblock from Warner Bros. France and Doug Shapiro from Time Warner. Time Warner has increased its shareholding in CME through several capital injections and holds a voting share of 49%. (See more about CME here)
Operating television channels – plus production houses and a few radio stations – in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Slovenia has been a challenge between recessions and digital transition, certainly not specific to CME. Finding a stable footing has been a struggle. Company CEO Adrian Sarbu was discharged last August and replaced by co-CEOs Michael Del Nin and Christoph Mainusch, both known as change agents with ties to Time Warner.
Country directors have been replaced, some managers and staff following. In Romania, where CME owns the Pro TV franchise, new director Aleksander Cesnavicius irritated the news department by taking up an office next to award winning news director Gabriela Popescu. More impolitic, last week, was informing staff members that the traditional Easter bonus, RON 500 (about €110), must be returned or it would be deducted from the next pay period, reported reportervirtual.ro (April 17). Those who returned the money were given nice cakes. Some staff members responded by making equal donations to an orphanage.
Former CME board member Igor Kolomoisky made a bit of news in Ukraine this week. After being named governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Mr. Kolomoisky offered cash to pro-Russian militants in return for their guns and buildings seized. In 2007 Mr. Kolomoisky, a banker by trade, invested US$110 million in CME, brought along TV channel Studio 1+1 and took a board seat. He exited the CME board on acquiring 100% of the Ukraine broadcast assets in 2010.
Digital radio of the DAB variety is “well on its way” to reaching the required 50% listening threshold triggering a shutdown of the FM platform for national and regional broadcasters,” said DAB support group Digital Radio Norge director Ole Jørgen Torvmark, in a statement quoted by Kampanje (April 11). The Norwegian government approved a switch-over from FM to DAB for all but local radio stations in 2017 if the threshold is met by next year. A TNS Gallup survey conducted between October 2013 and March 2014 for Digital Radio Norge indicated 45% of radio listeners using DAB receivers.
Public broadcaster NRK has led the DAB charge, adding coverage and channels. Commercial broadcasters have followed, clearly seeing the handwriting on the wall. Local radio stations will remain on the FM band regardless and, interestingly, newspaper groups have acquired several, clearly seeing the handwriting on the other wall. (See more on digital radio here)
Norway’s Culture Ministry set four basic requirements for DAB migration: national and regional commercial DAB coverage must reach 90% of the population, “digital radio services must represent added value to the public,” half of Norway’s radio listeners must be using DAB services daily and radio reception in automobiles must be “reasonable and technically satisfactory.” If all are in place, including the rather vague automobile reception requirement, Norway will be the first to, more or less, switch off FM.
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Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in the Numbers
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Public Broadcasting - Arguments, Battles and Changes – new
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