Fake news and propaganda are widespread in the Moldovan media landscape and have recently increased sharply in the context of the country's EU accession aspirations and the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Regulating such disinformation is difficult, especially on the Internet. To effectively combat disinformation and sustainably strengthen resilience in the country, a clear legal framework is particularly important. The reforMD policy debate series assessed how such a legislation might look like and what institutional structure is needed.
Three different events brought together local and international experts from politics and civil society to discuss the status quo of disinformation regulation in the Republic of Moldova, as well as approaches to reform. Among them was Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei, Chairwoman of the Media Commission of the Moldovan Parliament. She is currently working on a draft law that provides for the introduction of a disinformation center. The center is to act as a coordinating body for combating disinformation. During the policy debates, Ms. Nicolaescu-Onofrei was not only able to provide exciting insights into the work of her commission, but also received recommendations from the experts for the further development of the draft law. Among others, Valeriu Pasa, President of the CSO Watchdog Moldova, and Petru Macovei, Director of the Association for Independent Press, contributed their expertise on the regulation of disinformation.
The policy debates were accompanied by advisory missions where international experts provided recommendations on countering disinformation. Based on the findings of the policy debates and the work of the advisory missions, concrete policy measures to strengthen the legal framework against disinformation in the Republic of Moldova will be developed and published in a policy paper.