Dr. Vlad with Angela Sirbu and Liliana Vitu at TV Moldova

Cox Center Associate Director Discusses Program Needs in Republic of Moldova

Dr. Tudor Vlad, the associate director of the Cox International Center at the University of Georgia, visited journalism organizations, governmental bodies and nongovernmental communication institutions in April in the Republic of Moldova at the invitation of the communication advisor of the prime minister of the Moldovan government.

The goal of the visit was to explore possible partnerships between the Cox Center and Moldovan institutions.

Dr. Vlad had meetings at TV Moldova, the Institute for Public Policy, the School of Journalism and Communication Sciences at the State University of Moldova, the Association of Independent Press and the government of Moldova.

“We are in a process of transition here at the national public service television, and assistance and funding are crucial to us during this time,” Angela Sirbu, TV Moldova director, said.

Liliana Vitu, the head of the news department at TV Moldova, added that two of the major problems are the lack of equipment and the urgent need for a higher professionalism of the staff. The station has about 700 employees and produces four daily newscasts, two in Romanian and two in Russian. In May of 2010 a new private channel was launched.

Dr. Arcadie Barbarosie, executive director of the Institute for Public Policies, said that the think tank created in 2000 was specialized in four areas: the Transnistria conflict, European integration, educational policies and national and regional security.

“We should work more with the journalists to help them better understand the nature of the conflict in Transnistria,” he suggested. “While many think that it is mainly a military issue, we have evidence that it’s more of an economic problem.”

“We are very interested in collaboration with the Grady College,” said Dr. Mihail Guzun, dean of the School of Journalism and Communication Studies. “Learning from our American colleagues how they are reshaping their curricula to address the new technology revolution would be extremely useful to us.”

He added that the Moldovan journalism faculty expertise in multilingual journalism and crisis communication also might be a good resource for U.S. students and professors.

The Cox Center is an international outreach unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“I hope our collaboration will start as soon as possible,” said deputy minister of foreign affairs Natalia Gherman. “Our government is trying to build relationships at different levels and in a variety of areas, and good communication skills are crucial to the success of these initiatives.”

Inga Burlacu of the Independent Press Association said that the government must be more transparent in the decision-making process. “A new set of rules designed to implement the 2008 law regarding transparency has been adopted, but more has to be done in the areas of communication, monitoring and evaluation. The media should participate more in this process, because the ultimate goal is a better informed citizenry.”

“We have many needs and many challenges during the democratization process,” said Daniel Diviricean, communication advisor of the Moldovan prime minister. “I know the work of the Cox International Center in East and Central Europe and I think that there is a broad range of opportunities here in the Republic of Moldova for successful joint programs focusing on media professionalism, government transparency and the role of journalism combating corruption and human trafficking.”

Daniel Diviricean collaborated in the past with Dr. Lee B. Becker, the Cox Center director, and Dr. Tudor Vlad, on projects in Romania on government transparency, investigative journalism and the role of media in combating corruption.