Dodon is bidding for a second term in next month’s election but faces a strong challenge from pro-European candidate Maia Sandu.
Torn between integrating with the West or remaining in Russia’s orbit, Moldova has proven particularly vulnerable to outside propaganda, particularly against NATO, the European Union and the international community in general.
But Petru Macovei, executive director of the Independent Press Association, API, said SIS did not go far enough.
“It was a facade with the closure of those sites, to justify themselves that their activity was not in vain during the state of emergency caused by the pandemic,” Macovei told BIRN. “Indeed, it was neither effective nor sufficient.”
These “were selective decisions,” he said, “because the real propaganda was not affected by that SIS measure.”
By ‘real propaganda,’ many experts in Moldova mean Russian media outlets that broadcast in Moldova with a distinctively anti-Western tone.
“Russian media in Moldova like Komsomolskaya Pravda or Sputnik every day have at least one anti-EU and NATO news and some about Ukraine,” said Cozonac.
Elena Marzac, executive director of the Information and Documentation Centre on NATO, IDC NATO, said that COVID-19 crisis and the economic fallout were “gradually turning into a security crisis.”