As one of the least developed countries in Europe, the Republic of Moldova is dealing with high levels of corruption. As an advocate for accountability, Free Press Unlimited has been working with journalists and the management of the independent weekly outlet, Ziarul de Garda, since 2011. It has advised and trained them in strategic planning, in marketing, in product diversification (online, TV, print) and shown them how they can serve their target groups (Moldovan and Russian language readers) better. It has also advised on related safety issues when investigating corruption cases. One series of Ziarul de Garda reports led to the resignation of the Minister of Finance.

Ziarul de Garda has been sued for slander more than fifteen times over the last three years. Although it lost some cases at the local level, all decisions were appealed and overturned by the Supreme Court. ZdG relies on the broad support of international organizations working in Moldova, including the professional support of Free Press Unlimited. This support has helped them to endure the pressure and to continue to publish their investigations. During an Free Press Unlimited Global Partner meeting in Istanbul in July 2013, Ziarul de Garda won the Drivers of Change Award for “its immense effort to fight corruption, organized crime and violation of human rights, for over nine years.”

Ziarul de Garda has also become a trusted news source in Moldova. It receives dozens of handwritten “whistleblowing” letters from readers telling their stories and asking for help. Ziarul de Garda specifically empowers women, investigating issues such as domestic violence, employment discrimination, and conditions for women in rural areas, etc.

Free Press Unlimited provided onsite consulting for promotional outreach, website improvements and financial management. Together, these measures have enabled Ziarul de Garda to almost double its subscriptions. In 2013, with support from Free Press Unlimited, Ziarul d Garda succeeded in making all of its online content available in Russian, to help reconcile differences between the Moldovan/Romanian speaking populations and those speaking Russian (approximately 25%). Because of regional developments between Russia and Ukraine in 2014, these differences have been given a new meaning.