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Local government and municipality in EU. Newsroom – Polish support for the Moldavian media

In recent years, the Moldovan media (following a brief period of relative freedom associated with the removal of the Communists from power in 2009) has been largely subordinated to the country’s key political and business groups. Even if the relatively many television channels (about 70), radio stations, press publications and web portals present different points of view, their programme line is dependent on the interests of their owners. As a result, the Moldovan mainstream media is for the most part not impartial. The domination of the media, backed by considerable funds, means that independent journalism has no way of reaching the wider public.

Despite the positive political reforms, the country is still struggling with social and economic problems. Apart from sporadic exceptions, there is no information in the media about local government and local governance as one of the forms of integration in the EU.

Educational and informational programmes addressed to Moldovan journalists are the most important tools for conveying impartial information on the operation of the EU and may effectively impact how local public opinion is formed. Without working with the media, there is no way of increasing public knowledge on local governance in the EU and of overcoming negative stereotypes on this subject.

The Natolin European Centre Foundation has considerable experience in conveying professional information to journalists, running the European Journalism Seminar since 2002 and successfully conveying EU knowledge and integrating nearly 100 editorial offices and over 120 journalists.

Local government and municipality in EU. Newsroom – Polish support for the Moldavian media

The main project recipient was the Foreign Policy Association of Moldova. The Natolin European Centre, which has been involved in European integration for over a decade, is familiar with the activity of the Moldovan partner as the leading analytical centre in the country, dealing with foreign policy and providing support for Moldova’s European aspirations, various aspects of integration with the European Union and the frozen conflict in Transdniestria. This independent organisation was established in 2003 by a group of well-known experts, public personalities, former higher officials and diplomats who were ready to contribute knowledge and experience to supporting Moldova’s European aspirations.

The project participants included 50 Moldovan editorial offices from across the country. During a study visit, 15 young Moldovan independent journalists with the greatest prospects of development in their profession learned about local government and local governance as one of the forms of economic integration and its impact on EU policy. They represented the editorial offices of public and private national and regional (economic and political) and academic media. Journalists working in news agencies, online, in the press, and on radio and TV took part in the project.

The project was implemented through:

  1. The creation of a website as a platform for conveying sound professional knowledge on self-governance as a form of economic integration and its convergence with EU policy;
  2. Preparation of informational materials on the EU and the role of self-government in EU policy;
  3. Preparation of information on self-governance in a two-week cycle for Moldovan recipients;
  4. Organisation of study visits to Warsaw, Krakow, Niepolomice and Wieliczka in the form of workshops for 15 Moldovan journalists of the central and regional media, with one topic being “Priorities of the Polish Presidency in the EU”;
  5. Roundtable on “Source of knowledge about Moldova for the Polish media” with the participation of Moldovan and Polish journalists.

Local government and municipality in EU. Newsroom – Polish support for the Moldavian media

Following the conducted activities, 15 young Moldovan journalists acquired knowledge to be used for actively taking up the topic of self-governance and the EU in the Moldovan press. In addition, sound professional information on self-governance and the EU was conveyed to 50 editorial boards of Moldovan media for use in radio and television broadcasts and press publications. At the same time, Polish journalists who participated in the roundtable obtained information about Moldova. Publications on the EU in the Moldovan press should help raise the level of social awareness of Moldovan citizens and encourage active self-organisation and joint responsibility for modernisation of their country.