joi, 26 octombrie 2017

INFORMATION SECURITY IN MOLDOVA: CHALLENGERS AND RESPONSES

Media pluralism and the concentration of ownership in Moldova
There are a few challenges for Moldova’s media in order to assure the pluralism of opinions in the country. The main one is the increasing concentration of the politically-affiliated ownership of Moldova’s media. This raises concern both for the independence of the press, for its capacity to be the forth power in the state and for the democracy as such. EU and USA has encouraged Moldova to implement democracy and free market. Yet, over 80 percent of the television market is owned by leaders of political parties or by persons affiliated with them.
Several recommendations can be offered in this regard.  Moldova’s media market needs deep reforms that would ensure media freedom and pluralism in society. This can be done by the liberalization of the advertising market, that is monopolized and controlled by the leaders of political parties or by politically-affiliated persons. The goal would be to remove media funding through advertising, from the political control. That would permit to support by the economic agents the free and independent media. Another aspect is the support of the society to free media. This is possible by increasing the media culture of the society.
Republic of Moldova is a post-Soviet state, facing many challenges on its path to democracy. One of the problems is the lack of respecting democratic practices, such as the division of branches of the power in the state. Not only judicial power is suspected to be subordinated to political actors, but also the media, as the fourth power in the state. The increasing consolidation of Moldova’s media in ownership of politicians in power or of persons affiliated with political parties raises big concern for democratic development of the country, integrity of the country’s democratic institutions, independence of the press and pluralism in society. The international community, especially the United States of America and the European Union, has encouraged Moldova’s authorities to create the necessary conditions for media normal activity, such as access to the information of public interest from the state institutions or about state men, which would press the politicians or officials to avoid corruption and embezzlement.
A few reforms are necessary in order to engage meaningfully the state structures and all citizens to improve the media situation, in order to ensure media freedom and pluralism in society. The main challenges for Moldova’s media and pluralism of opinions in the country mean to stop the concentration of Moldova’s media into the hands (ownership) of politicians in power or politically-affiliated persons, as the implications of this phenomenon are very negative for Moldovan society and for democracy in Moldova. However, without a pressure from the part of European Union, USA, international institutions, real progresses in this field are impossible. 

Media literacy and the challenge of fake news
Minority groups from Moldova consume information from Russian media. That pose a challenge to national security and democratic development of the country. External sources are attractive to all Moldovan public, because of the fact that local media outlets cannot be financed at the same level. That leads to the opportunity to manipulate popular opinion and undermine the cohesion of the multiethnic society – the societal security. Lack of media literacy and critical thinking makes Moldova’s audience vulnerable to manipulations, creating an opportunity for external propaganda to divide the society by geopolitical and ethnical criteria.  
The propaganda of Russian media affects Moldova’s media sector and entire society, in the context of hybrid war, countering the Western values, as well as international norms, as territorial integrity and national sovereignty of the states. Trying to reestablish its sphere of influence, Kremlin uses hard power (as in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine) and soft power – by its propaganda, compromising the Western style of life.
Being aware of the danger of Russian propaganda, the example of Baltic countries in facing similar informational challenges is very useful (for example, Estonia created a broadcasting in Russian language – in order to counter Moscow propaganda). 

Information resilience of Moldova’s media sector
The problem of the information resilience of Moldova’s media sector became a matter of national security. The information sector is one of the main spheres of security field. In the same time, the development of resilience of the media sector is one of the main components of the democracy building. Therefore, resilience of Moldova’s media sector is towards internal political actors that want to subordinate and control media resources and towards external instruments of propaganda, which can destabilize the situation in Moldova by supporting pro-separatist movements, parties that are opposite to the European integration into the liberal-democratic space of freedom, security and prosperity.
The experience of Ukraine and Georgia in media sector is very useful for development of resilience in media domain from Moldova, taking into account that those two countries are more advanced. The Ukrainian and Georgian media sectors are more efficient in defending democracy, human rights and countering disinformation. Only a resilient media sector can accomplish such objectives. A few threats, of polarization (West – East) and rise of nationalist rhetoric in public space, are common and must be considered in the process of building resistance to domestic political control and disinformation.
The Moldovan civil society pays attention to information security as an important sector of security field. Being a post-Soviet, young state, Republic of Moldova faces many internal vulnerabilities and external treats. In order to stabilize the internal situation, one of the vulnerabilities that Moldova has to eliminate is the constant attempt from the political actors to influence, subordinate and control media sector. A sign of the fact that a sate became democratic is the presence of an independent media. In must build resilience in order to counter all attempts to subordinate it by diverse political actors.
One of the main threats that Moldova faces is the internal and external propaganda. Supporting pro-separatist movement and anti-Western political forces, the instruments of propaganda can destabilize Moldova. That is why the resilience of Moldova’s media against the Russian Media resources is one of the condition of Moldova escaping from the Russian sphere of influence and of survival of Moldovan state. Being a component of the hybrid war, the information warfare is a special theme researched by several Moldovan NGO’s.

The Ukrainian and Georgian experience in this field is always very useful for Moldovan researchers.

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