Slovakia supported free regional media in Moldova - SlovakAid

Slovakia supported free regional media in Moldova

Independent and free media are not a matter of course. In Moldova, free journalism is still in its early days. That is why Slovakia has supported regional media there, which are important for strengthening democracy in the country, but they need help to survive.

At the end of last year, the leaders of the member states of the European Union agreed to open the accession process for Ukraine and Moldova. Both countries thus gained hope that they could become part of the European Union. But both countries still have a long way to go.

Change can come from the bottom

Freedom of expression and independent media have not always been taken for granted in Moldova. In the Reporters Without Borders ranking, Moldova has historically been ranked lower, but over the past three years we have seen significant progress (from 89th place in 2021 to 40th place in 2022 to the current 28th place in the country list). However, the country has not yet won in this field.

Although freedom of the press and the right to information in Moldova are now guaranteed by law, the local media - like Moldovan society - is still highly polarized and heavily influenced by oligarchs and political leaders. This mainly concerns large, nationwide media such as TV6, NTV Moldova and Prime TV.

However, many Moldovan journalists do not give up and want change. They want objective and independent media that will be the voice of local civil society. And the biggest chance for change is in the smaller - regional media.

That is why the Slovak project financed by EU resources to support independent journalism in Moldova focused on regional journalists.

Representatives of SlovakAid with representatives of People in Need Slovakia after the project's final event in Chisinau.

Slovakia supported 15 Moldovan media

Slovak journalists have a lot of experience that they can share with the media, which are still building their independence and are looking for ways to handle the challenges brought by, for example, the development of online media and social networks. Therefore, 24 mentors and 14 experts were involved in the EU-funded project, which was covered by the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation (SAIDC) and implemented by the non-profit organization Človek v ohrození (People in Need Slovakia).

Over the past two years, thanks to this project, it was possible to support 15 start-up and established media from various Moldovan regions. We supported Moldovan journalists with training, mentoring and consultations, as well as grants. Some media used them to create new shows, others to support higher quality content or even set up a creative studio.

"The main goal of the project was to target the capacities, independence, financial sustainability and professionalism of these media, as well as their ability to produce quality, fact-based, balanced and reliable journalistic content," says the director of the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation, Tomáš Bokor.

"If Moldova has a stable and independent regional media, it will not only be a step towards a more democratic society, but also an important step in the fight against the spread of misinformation that negatively affects the atmosphere in an already polarized society," Tomáš Bokor adds.

Andrei Bordian is trying to build a professional medium in his homeland.

My region was left without a newspaper

"Establishing a medium was not just my personal wish, it was necessary for the residents of the entire district. After two local newspapers disappeared, Rezina was left practically without a press, with a single regional television and a newspaper distributed from a neighboring district," says Moldavian Andrei Bordian, who studied journalism in the capital, but decided to return to his region of origin - to Rezina in the northeast of Moldova.

In his homeland, Andrei founded the association Rezina în Obiective, from which he wants to build a professional local newsroom. "It takes time. We are taking gradual steps, and I am convinced that next year we will become an active and professional media institution that will gain people's trust," says Andrei.

Thanks to the support from the project, today Andrei and his colleagues are filming the Dialogues from Home show, in which they present interviews with successful people from the region.

Andrei, together with 18 other Moldovan journalists, visited Slovakia as part of the project at the end of 2023, where they attended educational workshops and events and met with important representatives of the Slovak media scene and journalism.

Together with Andrei, Angela Zacharova, producer of the regional TV station Elita TV, which was founded by women, came to visit us. In the video from the visit of Moldovan journalists, you will find out what else she liked here. You can also find more stories of Moldovan journalists on SlovakAid's Facebook page.

The project entitled EU Support for Local Media Outlets in Moldova was financed by the European Union and the EU Delegation for the Republic of Moldova, in close cooperation with the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation SlovakAid, as well as with several international and local organizations.