Importance of disclosing the final beneficiaries in media businesses

Interview with Corina Cepoi, founder of the Independent Journalism Center in Moldova, currently a manager of Internews Project in Kyrgyzstan

Corina Cepoi reflects on the universal issues concerning transparency of media ownership.

Cepoi, founder of Independent Journalism Center (Moldova) and a member of Internews network, speaks about the transparency of media ownership, primarily based on her experiences with the policy initiatives in Moldova and Ukraine.

She is skeptical about the prospect of passing the law on media ownership in Moldova, saying that as the time passed, the draft law on media ownership transparency saw less and less political support and now it is dragged through a parliamentary procedures with little prospects to be adopted soon. She thinks there seems to be more of a political will in Ukraine to adopt the Law, which recently entered the parliamentary procedure. As for the effects of ownership transparency laws, she mentions that in Georgia the Law changed the dynamics of media use completely, by giving public the insight in information about who is influencing media messages.

Cepoi emphasized several important issues to deal with when transparency of media is tackled, most of all regulation of ownership by actors from abroad, and especially ownership by offshore companies, as well as regulation of media ownership by active political players. She also points out that the draft Law in Moldova recognized the importance of disclosing not only the official owners, but the final beneficiaries of media companies as well, with severe penalties for those failing to report the latter to the authorities. She concludes that experiences concerning policies on transparency of ownership can easily be shared among the countries in the broader region.

Media Policy and Reforms
Media Ownership and Finances