Since gaining independence, the Republic of Moldova has been under constant threat. For more than 30 years, our country has been subject to blackmail, embargoes, economic blockades, thefts, money laundering schemes, hybrid threats, with the aim of blocking the country's development and preventing the growth of people's welfare. Most of the time, the attacks came from outside the country, but every time, traitors were found here, within the country. They tried to divide us, to make us quarrel with each other, with the aim of weakening us in the face of threats.
Since Russia started the barbaric war that kills peaceful people and bombs houses, hospitals, kindergartens, entire cities, the attacks on the Republic of Moldova have also intensified. They are constantly trying to pull our country into an orbit of the past, into a dark area with no prospects for development.
Only because of the resistance and courage of the Ukrainians, Russia cannot militarily attack our country. But it is constantly attacked informationally, through lies, propaganda, misinformation. Daily, the Kremlin launches hybrid attacks, using the weapon of propaganda to sow hatred in Moldova, to weaken our trust in each other and the trust in our own state.
The plan of those who launch falsehoods and contribute to their propagation is to cause fear, quarrels, thus trying to achieve their petty purposes. Because they can't reach us with tanks, they sponsor huge sums of money to spread lies in the mass media and the social networks, finance with dirty money criminal groups that try to stop us from our path of developing the country.
Lies broadcast on television and on the Internet have become the most dangerous weapons with which we are attacked today. With huge sums of money, with troll factories working 24 hours a day, through multiple media channels that serve the interests of organized criminal groups, they are trying to weaken Moldova through repeated attacks. Propaganda is a direct threat to the security of the country and endangers the free, democratic and prosperous future of Moldova.
Unfortunately, we have on the territory of the Republic of Moldova well-established persons and networks, paid with dirty money, who serve interests foreign to our country and have only one role - to create fakes, propagate the lies of the Kremlin and block Moldova's way to the European Union.
To serve the interest of a state that attacks and kills the neighbors' children and wipes entire cities and villages off the face of the earth instead of taking care of the people in your country is treason. And we have the duty to defend Moldova from attacks and traitors.
We need concrete, coherent measures and a well-established plan to respond to these threats to our citizens, to combat propaganda and help protect the information space in our society.
The best antidote to information warfare is to ensure objective, correct information, to guarantee the primacy of facts and to develop critical thinking and citizens' resistance to misinformation. People need to have access to real facts, correct information, free of manipulation, to be able to hear multiple opinions and to know what is happening in their country and in the world.
Today I announce the legislative initiative to create an institution that will combat propaganda harmful to the state of the Republic of Moldova and defend our citizens from manipulation and constant propaganda attacks. By virtue of the powers provided by the Constitution, in the areas of the country's defense and national security, I will propose to the Parliament for adoption the establishment of the National Center for Informational Defense and Combating Propaganda, symbolically named - PATRIOT.
The Center Patriot will have the mission to coordinate and implement the state policy in the field of information security and to ensure strategic communication in order to identify, prevent and combat disinformation at the national level. The institution will have two basic responsibilities:
to communicate truthful information to the general public and to ensure a constant dialogue with the citizens, as well as to collaborate with all state institutions in order to promote national interests and increase our society's resistance to disinformation.
to identify, assess and combat disinformation in order to eliminate the risks posed by hybrid threats and disinformation to national security.
Tomorrow the text of the draft bill will be published on the website of the presidential institution for consultation. By the end of June, we will submit the draft bill to the Parliament.
Moldova needs an institution that will ensure the fight against propaganda, the objective information of the people, the development of the informational resilience of the citizens and the defense of the informational security.
I know that this announcement will stir the nest of wasps working against the Republic of Moldova and the inventions and lies will intensify.
Some will discuss this initiative from the perspective of freedom of speech. The right to free expression is an indisputable value and is the basis of the democratic development we all want. But freedom of expression cannot be a screen for lies and intoxication.
It is up to us, the whole society, to not allow them to divide us and weaken our country. Because this is their plan - a weak country with quarreled people who do not prevent them from stealing and keeping Moldova in an area of poverty and corruption.
I urge you all to do what we can to promote objective information, be careful when sharing information, think critically and work together to protect people from lies.
I have faith in Moldova. I am sure that we now have the chance to build a European state, where people live in freedom and prosperity. I want our citizens to have faith in Moldova and in our power as a country to rise up.