From left to right: Dumitru Tira, director of ADC Moldova; Mr. James Pettit, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova; Mr. Powell Moore, Cox International Center Board Member; and Dr. Tudor Vlad, director of the Cox International Center.

Workshop On Government-Media Relationship In The Republic Of Moldova

“The 24-hour news channels have changed the way politicians work in Washington,” Powell A. Moore told a group of forty government officials and journalists who participated in a two-day workshop in Chisinau, capital of the Republic of Moldova. “It is harder to find them in their offices during late afternoon hours, because they are on TV, but also the substance of their work has been altered. Now, because media’s extraordinary need for news content, people in Washington seem to be involved in an endless campaign.”

Powell Moore is a member of the Cox International Center Board of Visitors and a Grady College alumnus.  He has been actively engaged in legislative and public affairs, national security and international relations for more than 40 years. In his most recent government service, he was the Representative of the United States Secretary of Defense to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, based in Vienna, Austria. As a government official and in other capacities, Mr. Moore has visited more than 70 countries.

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research and the Association for Development and Cooperation (ADC) in Moldova collaborated to organize this program titled, "Challenges and Solutions in the Communication between Public Administration Institutions and Mass Media", held in early October of 2017. The workshop was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau and by local sponsors.  The Cox International Center is an outreach unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

“Professional and independent media can have a great positive effect on the government,” said Mr. James Pettit, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, during the opening session. “Government and media should not see each other as enemies, because the final goal is to have well informed citizens who want and have channels to engage and to express their thoughts.”

Dumitru Tira, director of ADC Moldova, said that the informational content of the country is still mainly produced abroad, with powerful elements of disinformation, while the local journalists do not know any sufficient techniques of counteracting the manipulations and disinformation. Therefore, the need to offer to the communicators the techniques of fighting against manipulations has become a priority.

“In order to make a story visible on the Internet, one needs to know how search algorithms work,” Dana Todd told the participants. “Some of those who produce and distribute fake news have tried to legitimize their stories using a variety of Internet strategies, and you need to understand them in order to effectively react.”

Dana Todd is one of the few "Digital CMOs" with deep experience in internet and technology, combined with broad marketing and executive skills. Currently, she is chief marketing officer of a global telecom company, SRVR LLC, which operates five consumer brands including QuickCall, a competitor to Whatsapp. She is a member of the Grady Society Alumni Board.

In his presentations, Dr. Joseph Watson Jr. focused on the role of communication in public affairs. “Regular and routine communication of information transparently can limit adverse impact of bad news, such as an economic crisis, when it arises,” he said. “The lack of transparency, even if it’s only by negligence, will lead to citizens’ suspicion and lack of trust.”

Joseph Watson, Jr. is the Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications at Grady College. He brings 20 years of experience in public affairs, campaigns and communications to the program. He served as an appointee in the Administration of President George W. Bush where he led the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s domestic policy office.

“We have conducted programs on media-government relationships in many countries,” said Dr. Tudor Vlad, director of the Cox International Center during the closing session.” What we have found is that problems are quite similar, and they often result from a lack of trust between the parties and a lack of understanding of what others are doing. Journalists and government communicators should try to work together and focus on the real needs and priorities of the citizens.”