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Moldova Ups Fight Against Russian Propaganda Ahead of Elections

Moldova’s National Agency for Regulation in Electronic Communications and Information Technology of Moldova, ANRCETI, has been empowered to block online sources used in the information war against Moldova following a decision to this effect by the Commission for Exceptional Situations.

ANRCETI will be able to close such web portals based on information received from Moldova’s Information and Security Service, SIS.
Following a request from the SIS, ANRCETI is obliged to block the access of users in Moldova not only to sources that promote fake news deemed to affect national security but also online sources that, through promoted messages, incite hatred and disorder or are used in the informational war against Moldova.

The background to this is the proliferation of Russian propaganda and disinformation launched by media close to the Kremlin ahead of the start of the campaign for local elections due on November 6 in Moldova.

Moldova is facing big problems regarding online disinformation, especially on social networks. Even though Telegram is the primary unmoderated informational medium in which Russian propaganda is shared in Moldova, Western social networks have participated to a certain extent in this phenomenon.

These networks have continued to accept paid advertising from close associates of Ilan Shor, Moscow’s main ally against the pro-European government in Chisinau.

In March, Moldovan PM Dorin Recean signed an open letter to the big companies in IT, urging them to act against disinformation and manipulation on social networks, which “undermine peace and stability throughout Europe”.

At the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Moldova banned the Russian portal Sputnik, a mouthpiece of the Kremlin.

However, Sputnik Moldova continued its activity, creating editorial content and spreading hostile information about Moldova and the West on social media.

On September 13, the authorities expelled Sputnik Moldova’s director, Vitali Denisov. He was banned from entering Moldova for ten years for having “threatened the information security” of the country.

According to reports, Denisov held the rank of colonel in the Russian Airborne Forces, worked for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration, and wrote articles for Russian Defence Ministry publications.

Source : Balkan Insight