Saturday, November 08, 2008

Official radio in Moldova's rebel region in dire situation - paper

The state-run radio Pridnestrovye in Moldova's breakaway Dniester region has cut its broadcasts from 23 to a bit more than three hours a day due to the lack of proper office space, the eponymous Dniester official daily reported on 5 November.

The paper said that because of the last summer's floods the station's radio equipment and personnel were evacuated from its premises in central Tiraspol, but no new office place has been allocated to it so far.  The radio channel's equipment is stored in a garage, and journalists work at a canteen of the breakaway region's information ministry.

While information minister Vladimir Belyayev is still in the process of making a decision whether to repair the station's old premises or to find a new office for it, 100 out of the station's 146 staff members have been sent on an open-ended leave, with their wages cut by 30 per cent.

Commenting on the radio station's critical situation, the Russkiy Proryv! weekly said on 5 November that the situation was aggravated by disagreements between the Dniester parliament and the information ministry. According to the law on the state-run media in the Dniester region, all official radio and TV channels should list parliament and the president as founders, but the ministry took upon itself all managerial functions over the Pridnestrovye radio channel, the weekly said.

It recalled that in 2007, parliament initiated a probe into the ministry's activities linked to the radio station and unveiled numerous violations, including money-laundering. Members of the Dniester parliament tabled a proposal then that the radio station sign a separate agreement with president Igor Smirnov and radio Pridnestrovye become answerable to parliament, the paper said.

(Sources: Pridnestrovye, Tiraspol, in Russian 5 Nov 08; Russkiy Proryv!, Tiraspol, in Russian 5 Nov 08 via BBC Monitoring)

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