Mass Media as a Formal Reflection of Corruption: Warning Indicators in the Second Monitoring Stage

CIJM Thirteen national and regional mass media institutions have passed the second critical test in terms of providing an objective and analytical reflection of the pervasive corruption phenomenon in various sectors, especially those of top priority: education, healthcare, social assistance, and the agri-food sector. The monitoring revealed that the percentage of informative materials far exceeds that of analytical content, including investigative reports. The monitoring report was presented by the Association of Independent Press (API) in partnership with the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJM).

In the first report, which was conducted between June and July 2023, API experts found that the media gave priority to presenting the picture of corruption at the political and justice system levels. In the second report, covering the months of August and September 2023, some improvements were noted. Experts observed a slight increase in the number of journalistic materials addressing corruption in the fields of education, healthcare, social assistance, and the agri-food sector.

In the second monitoring stage, the list of monitored media institutions was expanded to include a total of thirteen national and regional media outlets. Using a complex methodology based on quantitative and qualitative criteria and indicators, five television stations (Moldova 1, Jurnal TV, GRT TV/Comrat, Elita TV/Rezina, and Studio-L, Căușeni), five news portals (,,,,ălți), one radio station (Radio Moldova), and two regional newspapers (Unghiul/Ungheni and Observatorul de Nord/Soroca) were evaluated. The monitoring encompassed all editorial content in print and online media, while for TV and radio stations, it included the main news broadcast hours (17:00–23:00), and for radio, it was from 17:00 to 20:00—the primary news edition of the day and, when applicable, scheduled or sporadic thematic programs.

The majority of thematic subjects were covered by,, Radio Moldova, Jurnal TV, and, with Jurnal TV and showing strong coverage of corruption in the four priority domains. Other editorial offices demonstrated weaker results.

"Most media institutions have improved their quantitative and qualitative indicators compared to the previous period, but the frequency of addressing the four themes (education, healthcare, social assistance, agri-food sector) remains uneven. It is not normal for 13 media institutions to have no coverage of these topics for nine days. It is also concerning that two-thirds of the country's 37 municipalities and districts (25 major localities) received no media attention in this regard. In this way, residents of many areas get the perception that there is no corruption in the sectors that directly affect them," stated Ion Bunduchi, the report's author.

Despite the increasing indicators, experts noted that the thirteen monitored institutions had a similar period of inactivity during which they did not publish any materials on corruption. This, according to experts, suggests that journalists are not actively identifying sensitive topics themselves.

"Now we see that most indicators are on the rise, but this is probably due to other institutions covering the gap. We are very concerned that, for 13 days, media institutions did not provide any information about corruption cases in sensitive areas," emphasized Ion Mazur, the head of the Advocacy, Campaigns, and Publications Department at API.

The recommendations made this time were practically identical to those in the first report. Experts urged editorial offices to invest more in training and enhancing the skills of journalists reporting on corruption issues.

"After the first report, we discussed with the team and decided to pay more attention to the mentioned themes. I was pleasantly surprised to see that we moved from 8th place to 5th. We will work more on planning topics and creating our own materials, which will help us improve the quality of our content," said Mihail Sircheli, director of

Please note that the project "Strengthening the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Mechanisms in the Republic of Moldova" is co-financed by the European Union, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of the United Kingdom, and implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). Project partners in Chisinau are the Independent Press Association (API) and the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJM), which are implementing the project "Strengthening a Network of Investigative Journalists in the Republic of Moldova and Enhancing their Capacity to Investigate Corruption Cases."

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