It broadcast masked advertising in favour of fugitive former MP Ilan Shor. CA imposed fines of 75 thousand lei on Orizont TV
Orizont TV was sanctioned at the Friday, September 8 meeting of the Audiovisual Council (CA) with 11 fines in the total amount of 75 thousand lei for broadcasting commercial communications with masked content in news bulletins, in materials related to the Orhei Guitar Festival, the so-called protests against the closure of “Merisor” stores and the concert of singer Misha Marvin at OrheiLand.
“On July 31, 2023, Orizont TV aired a story entitled “Performer, composer and musician Misha Marvin performed on Saturday at OrheiLand” in three news programs (the main news bulletin, in replay and the main news bulletin in Russian).
Although the subject of the material was the concert performed by Misha Marvin, during the news, both at the beginning and at the end, elements characteristic of commercial communication with masked content about the amusement park “OrheiLand” were presented. The name of the park was present in the headline of the story, six times in the images and kept on the headline throughout the news. The time devoted to Misha Marvin’s concert was 54 seconds, and the time when the information about the amusement park was presented – 1 min. 12 seconds.
Both the anchorwoman at the top of the story and the voice behind the camera at the beginning of the report said that every Saturday free ice cream was offered to children at the initiative of Ilan Shor, which amplifies the extent of his involvement in organizing the events. The news item contains elements of publicity, mentioning the year of inauguration, the number of visitors, the programme of activities, how the ice cream is distributed on the background of the banner with the inscription “Free Ice Cream”, and Ilan Shor’s name is mentioned both at the beginning of the news item and at the end. The name of the park is also uttered by an interpreter in his interview.
Thus, the editorial content favourably presents the political actor, Ilan Shor, who is the initiator of the “Ș.O.R.” political bloc, and falls under the notion of political advertising,” CA representatives say.
According to CA, the material was not marked as advertising and was not properly delimited, which is contrary to the provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Code (CSMA). The clear separation of journalistic products from those made for advertising purposes is mandatory.
On 3 August 2023, Orizont TV aired a story about the so-called protest of several supporters of the political bloc “Ș.O.R.” who were unhappy about the closure of the “Merișor” social shops, in three news bulletins (the main news bulletin in replay and the main news bulletin in Russian).
“At the beginning of the report there is footage of the protest, and at the end – information, commercially disguised, about the number and year of the shops’ launch, as well as mentioning at whose initiative they were created.
During the presentation of the information, video sequences from the “Archive” appeared on the screen with elements of the “Merișor” store and sequences of the opening of such a store, with the cutting of the ribbon, the opinions of the protesters about “saving in this store” and the image of their founder, Ilan Shor. Other examples are interviews with several people who say that even those who are against the “Shor” party go to these shops, and that Ilan Shor was the one who opened them. There is also an image of a banner comparing the price of buckwheat at the social shop with other shops.
Ilan Shor’s name was mentioned during the report by the voice behind the camera. Thus, the editorial content shows a character of favouritism for the political actor, Ilan Shor,” the statement added.
At the same time, on August 7, 2023, CA points out, the story “In Orhei, the Guitar Festival was held in memory of Iurie Sadovnic” was presented, with interviews of several artists and participants. During the report, the voice behind the frame mentions that the event was again organized by the Orhei District Council, with the support and backing of former fugitive MP Ilan Shor.
“Next, district chairman Dinu Turcanu thanked the district councillors and sponsors – Ilan Shor. The event was also attended by the former mayor of Jora de Mijloc, Marina Tauber, member of the Parliament. The text of the news broadcast by Orizont TV can be found in full on the TV6.md website. The report was made with the intention of highlighting the political image, but also the financial contribution of politician Ilan Shor,” the press release reads.
Referring to the findings of the monitoring report, CA member Ruslan Mihalevschi, the author of the self-complaint, expressed concern about the manner and context of the news broadcast. The content and editorial policy of TV6 and Orhei TV had migrated to Orizont TV, he said. For a week three very similar reports appear, mentioning Ilan Shor. “The Guitar Festival was sponsored by economic agents, but in the news Ilan Shor is mentioned as a sponsor, who has nothing to do with this event. There is a persistent promotion of projects with Ilan Shor’s involvement, and it is the journalist’s job to investigate from what sources the funds for these projects come from and whether it is not a matter of bribing voters,” said Ruslan Mihalevschi.
CA Vice-President Aneta Gonța said that all three materials used manipulation techniques, which are very effective when the same message is repeated several times. Although the TV station claims that it did not aim to advertise the shops, it certainly aimed to advertise Ilan Shor, with OrheiLand, Merișor, and more recently the Guitar Festival being used, in her opinion. “Mentioning the name of Iurie Sadovnic and the Orhei District Council is used as a cover for the materials disseminated. The presence of Marina Tauber’s interview is directly related to Ilan Shor’s image. There were elements of commercial advertising where the image of OrheiLand appears, the logo of the park several times and the slogan OrheiLand unites”, said the CA vice-president.