4 February 2016 By Victor Gotisan
Politicians meddling with the journalism business is not uncommon in Moldova’s media. But now, the battle to control dissenting voices moves online. The recipe used by politicians: buy existing and launch new digital media, infest the cyberspace with bogus sites and recompense the bloggers.
In the past couple of years, concentration of ownership in the Moldovan media has dramatically accelerated, which has had a harmful effect on independent journalism. The most popular, mainstream media outlets in the country have been engulfed by the conglomerate General Media Group, which belongs to Vlad Plahotniuc, a highly controversial politician and businessman, vice-president of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), according to ownership data from media experts. In the past, Mr Plahotniuc was accused of undue influence on Moldovan politicians. In neighboring Romania, he was investigated for using a fake identity on the Romanian territory. In 2012, Mr Plahotniuc was reportedly wanted by Interpol as he was suspected of “association with criminal groups, organized crime and money laundering.”