Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reality dawns in Chisinau

Funnily enough the title does not refer to the changes in the Moldovan population's state of mind which are (happily) taking place at the current time.

No, I'm talking instead about Romania's 'Realitatea-Catavencu' media group, which has just announced its intention to open a nationwide television channel in the Republic of Moldova from February 2010.

Notwithstanding the shady background of its owner (Sorin Ovidiu Vintu, who was involved in a major financial scandal in the 1990s), this is a very welcome development, as it will bring competition to the state-controlled media in the towns and villages of Moldova. One hopes also that TVR will now re-enter and the Pro TV Chisinau will obtain a nationwide licence, bringing much needed balance to the media environment after years of domination by the state (read the Communists) and by Russian channels.

What we still desperately need however (and this goes for all of Eastern Europe) is a quality Russian-language channel whose news and current affairs perspective is not guided by the Kremlin. Russian-speaking communities in the former soviet republics tend to tow the Kremlin line simply because all they have to watch are channels that rebroadcast the propaganda approved by the Russian government.

For example, Moldova's Russians seem to have bought Putin's view that the August 2008 Russo-Georgian war was all Saakasvili's fault. They have never heard about the cluster-bombing of Gori, the expulsion of tens of thousands of Georgians from their homes or about the failure of Russia to observe the Sarkozy plan.

These communities don't know any better because they don't have other sources of information. Please can somebody give them one?

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