Laura Zghibarta: The Fourth Estate in the Making: Regulation and Reform of Media in Moldova


In recent years, Moldova’s media sector has been defined by a range of negative characteristics, including monopolization of the media market by those in power, information manipulation and intimidation of journalists, and attempts by authorities to censor independent media. The decline of the Democratic Party in the summer of 2019 and the loosening of its hold on the media allowed a new government under Prime Minister Maia Sandu to focus on the underlying, technical issues of the sector. However, despite the
commitment to reform, authorities failed to properly tackle the shortcomings of the legal and regulatory frameworks for media, or to free the sector from political interests. Currently, there is growing concern that these issues may facilitate a re-politization of the media environment, hindering much-needed reform.

This policy brief argues that effective reform of the media sector remains an elusive endeavor, largely due to the deeply-rooted political factor. The brief will analyze media reform across Moldova’s three most recent governments, examining each successive approach to regulating the sector. It concludes with an overview of the implications of future political events for the media environment and recommendations for improving the
sector at legislative and operational levels.

The Media Forward Policy Brief series is made possible by the generous support of the American and British people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK aid. The contents are the responsibility of Freedom House and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK aid, USAID or the United States Government.