7 Dec 2017 19:45

Moldovan parliament passes bill banning "Russian propaganda"

CHISINAU. Dec 7 (Interfax) - The Moldovan parliament on Thursday passed a bill banning "Russian propaganda" in two readings.

The bill was included on the agenda at the insistence of the ruling Democratic Party.

Despite the protests of left-wing parties the ruling coalition supported by Liberals decided to adopt the bill in two readings. Sixty-one of 101 deputies voted for it (87 deputies were present).

Sergiu Sirbu, the author of the bill, said that the bill "on amending the Code of Television and Radio implies the introduction of a mechanism of guaranteeing the information security of the state."

"The initiative signed by deputies of the Democratic and European People's Parties is aimed at guaranteeing the security of the information space through restriction of broadcasting and transmission in the territory of the Republic of Moldova of current events', political and military programs from countries that have not ratified the European Convention of Transfrontier Television. The bill is aimed at combating propaganda and manipulation from abroad that can seriously harm the information security of the state and its citizens," Sirbu said.

He said that the initiative belongs "exclusively to restrictions related to current events' programs and by no means will influence the transmission of entertainment shows or other programs shown by foreign TV channels."

"Nobody is banning any channels from any countries. It is not a question of stopping the transmission of channels but a ban on specific programs that are aimed at manipulation, propaganda and misinformation," Sirbu said.

The opposition Socialist and Communist Parties strongly criticized the bill.

"It is a political decision directed against the Russian Federation. If you wish to ban propaganda, prohibit the broadcasting of Romanian TV channels that engage in subversive activities in Moldova. What you are doing is dishonest, to say the least," Communist Party leader and former president Vladimir Voronin said.

The Communist Party faction left the hall in protest.

In turn, Socialists suggested a roll call but the parliamentary majority rejected the proposal.

"If you are adopting this bill, omit the notions of freedom of speech and freedom of the media from the constitution. Omit everything and leave only what you think right. You want to fight the opposition. If you want to effectively combat the opposition, set up an NKVD and executioner troikas," Socialist deputy Vlad Batrincea said.

The bill envisages fines in the amount of 2,000 to 4,000 euros for violating the restrictions and up to 5,000 euros for repeated offenses. The strictest punishment is the revocation of a license from broadcasters transmitting such programs.

"We will dispute this bill in due order, of course. We will also appeal to your European partners who don't support such undemocratic methods," Batrincea said.

On Thursday, Moldovan President Igor Dodon said that if the bill proposed by the Democratic Party is adopted, he will not enforce it under any circumstances.