Moldova’s Media at Crossroads 2017

Freedom House Seeks Proposals for Policy Brief Series

Freedom House seeks proposals from independent researchers, scholars, and affiliated research analysts based in Moldova, the Eastern Partnership region, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for forward-looking briefs on the following themes:

Theme 1: Media Pluralism and the Concentration of Ownership in Moldova

The increasing consolidation of Moldova’s media raises concern for both the independence of the press and the integrity of the country’s democratic institutions. The international community, especially the European Union, has encouraged Moldova to engage meaningfully with necessary reforms in order to ensure media freedom and pluralism in society. Yet, with over 80 percent of the television market owned by people affiliated with political parties, this goal seems to be further and further away for now.

This brief would examine challenges for Moldova’s media and pluralism of opinions in the country, with attention to the implications of media concentration and politically-affiliated media ownership, and offer recommendations.

Theme 2: Media literacy and the challenge of fake news  

Moldova’s citizens, and minority groups in particular, consume media that in the long term could pose a challenge to democratic development in the country. External sources fill voids left by local media outlets, leading to increased opportunity to manipulate popular opinion and undermine democratic practices. Lack of media literacy and critical thinking makes Moldova’s audience as vulnerable to these manipulations and creates an opportunity for external narratives to overpower the country’s information space.

This brief would examine the critical issues that affect Moldova’s media sector, particularly existing and shifting narratives and external influences affecting it, and compare it with examples of countries, such as the Baltics, that have had some success in facing similar informational challenges.

Theme 3: Information Resilience of Moldova’s media sector:

Since the collapse of Soviet Union, Moldova’s transition has been marked by the EU’s aspirations towards and commitment to democratic principles. Yet the developing media environment has struggled to maintain credibility and build internal resilience. The current geopolitical situation poses challenges to the evolution of a sustainable independent media sector in the country, capable of providing its citizens with trustworthy news and countering disinformation.

This brief would draw upon the experiences of Ukraine and Georgia, exploring what lessons the media sector in Moldova can learn from these countries in the domain of media resilience.  This brief should provide an insight into what effects do traditional methods of resistance to disinformation might have on democratic development, considering threats of polarization and rise of nationalist rhetoric in public space.

Procedures:

This is a joint project of Freedom House’s Nations in Transit publication and Eurasia program. Please submit concept proposals to [email protected] by September 15, 2017. The concept proposal should consist of an abstract of no more than 200 words, an outline of the argument to be presented, and a CV of the principal researcher or researchers. Organizations may submit more than one brief.

Contracted researchers will be asked to deliver a draft of 2500-3000 words by October 27, 2017. The brief will be published by Freedom House, with the byline and affiliation of the scholar or researcher. An honorarium of $250 per brief is provided.

This is a joint initiative between Nations in Transit and Freedom House’s Eurasia Program, funded with generous support by USAID, through Internews Network.