A group of journalists from the national and local press participated on Friday, 25 May, in a training organised by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC), learning how to apply legislation on access to information. Program participants discussed the legal aspects a professional journalist should be guided by in his or her activity, as well as the practical ways of obtaining information of public interest. They also learned how to write official requests.
The coaches – Tatiana Puiu, an expert in media law, and Nicolae Cuschevici, an investigative journalist, explained to the participants how to access and verify open government data, what responsibility falls on those who violate the right of access to information etc.
Journalists have been trained to write requests for information to State institutions, where can they apply to if they do not receive answers to these requests, what sanctions the law provides for such officials, etc.
Elizaveta Rotari, Manager of ‘ATV’ Company in Comrat, who participated in a training on the subject for the first time, said: ‘It is good that we have been informed of such useful tools in investigative journalism. In Gagauz autonomy, for example, such trainings are organized less frequently, so I will pass this knowledge to my colleagues.’
Svetlana Hromih, a journalist at ‘Zercalo TV’ channel in the Transnistrian region, says that training will be useful for her professional activity. ‘I was interested in the subject, it was very interesting, especially what Nicolae told us about the open data bases. It is good that an information space where you can access various data free of charge exists on the right bank of the Nistru River. I hope that one day we will have free access to data of public interest in the Transnistrian region as well.’
Olga Stavila, a journalist at Radio Moldova, in her turn appreciated the coaches’ work: ‘Tatiana Puiu and Nicolae Cuschevici are very knowledgeable experts, who taught me many new things. For example, how to improve the legal framework for regulating access to information, as the law in force was adopted in 2000 and its provisions are a bit obsolete. I'm leaving this training with a long list of website addresses that I will access to collect the necessary information.’
This training course was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or of the US Government.