News Brief

The Fight Against Fake News Could Bring Constitutional Crisis to Moldova

Moldova may be heading for a constitutional crisis because its politicians can’t agree whether the country needs protecting from Russian disinformation.

The Moldovan president, Igor Dodon, has refused to sign a new broadcasting law which was drawn up partly to curb Russian TV channels that transmit pro-Kremlin propaganda.

A majority of MPs in the country’s 101 member parliament voted for the bill, according to Balkan Insight, which would bring Moldova’s audio-visual code in line with European Union standards.

But President Dodon has called the legislation “anti-Russian” and “anti-democratic.” And he has even promised Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will not sign it into law.

Under the bill’s terms, only channels linked to countries that have ratified European rules on cross-border transmissions would be allowed to broadcast in Moldova. This would primarily affect Russian stations — many of which are directly controlled by the Kremlin — rebroadcast by local Moldovan outlets.

Television is the main source of information for 70 percent of Moldovan citizens, according to a recent survey, and proponents of the bill say that there is currently a deluge of Kremlin propaganda.

MPs are threatening to suspend the president if he continues to defy the legislature — a sanction they have carried out successfully in the past.

But Dodon maintains he is protecting the constitutional rights of the majority, and says that most Moldovans consider Russia as a friend.