Disinformation in Moldova
Moldova: fighting disinformation
#Verified: politicians and public officials
In recent years, the Moldovan press, especially the online media, abounds with fake information and propaganda. Even though the media has the role to inform the citizens in a fair and accurate manner, unfortunately the Moldovan press often overlooks these principles and ends up reporting without verifying facts and, consequently, misinforms the public.
Oftentimes even politicians or public servants propagate distorted, truncated or manipulative information in their speeches and public statements. On the other side, Moldovan media outlets lack resources to devote time to analyze the political discourse, in order to identify instances of misinformation.
In this context, in 2019 three award-winning investigative journalists from the Republic of Moldova, Liuba Șevciuc, Olga Ceaglei and Doina Ipatii, founded a new independent Media Project named "CU SENS" (in translation - With Meaning). In 2020, their team developed and delivered the project called #Verified politicians and public officials - a series of short video stories tackling the political discourse misinformation. Each material focuses on a piece of fake or manipulative information identified in public speeches given by Moldovan politicians and public servants. The journalists use investigative and fact-checking techniques in order to bring forward evidence of fake and manipulative information in a short, clear and easy to grasp format.
Four out of seven episodes show how the former President, Igor Dodon, manipulates when he talks about the Constitutional Court and he makes false statements about the donations of the parties from the state subsidies and about the expenses for the inauguration ceremony of Maia Sandu as president. Fake and manipulative statements were also made by Socialist MPs Vasile Bolea and Petru Burduja and also by former prime-minister Ion Chicu when he described his son’s wedding as “a holiday meal” – an event which violated all anti-Covid-19 measures. All this public statements were fact-checked by the reporters.
This project met its target, namely to inform media consumers about the manipulative and misleading speeches of dignitaries and to teach the audience how to spot biased news. As a result, the videos reached an audience of almost 1 million (934.172) on Facebook - one of the most popular social media in Moldova. All materials were also promoted on Instagram, TikTok and Youtube. On all these social media the videos got more than 7 thousand likes, 5 thousand shares, and 1 thousand comments total, reaching also the new generation, more active as we observed on TikTok than Facebook.