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Media NGOs condemn the deliberate obstruction of journalists’ work on reflecting the events of 26-27 August

29 August 2018
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Media non-governmental organisations condemn the abuse of people that obstructed journalists from multiple media outlets to reflect the events happening in the Great National Assembly Square (PMAN) on 26 and 27 August, related to the protests and marking of Moldova’s 27 years of independence.

We also condemn Police representatives that failed to intervene and stop the abuse committed by Ilan Sor’s bodyguards against reporters and failed to guarantee journalists’ constitutional right to practise their profession.

Namely, several incidents related to journalists happened on 26 August, the day when two protests took place – the one of the ACUM National Resistance Movement and the unannounced protest organised by Sor Party.

Nicu Gusan, reporter of Radio Free Europe, had been shoved by the bodyguards of Sor Party leaders, while trying to interview Ilan Sor and Marina Tauber. At the same time, several men in civilian clothing that were accompanying Marina Tauber had behaved in a similar way with Aliona Ciurca, reporter of Ziarul de Garda. Aurica Rusnac-Jardan from portal was pushed by law enforcers when she tried to get a statement from the mayor of Orhei. The Radio Free Europe reporter Tatiana Etco had been also assaulted by Ilan Sor’s supporters at the same event.

Natalia Morari from TV8 stated that she had tried to enter that event for five times, but the Police line did not let her through.

In the meanwhile, Oxana Bodnari from Publika TV stated that some participants to the other protest bullied her and tried to stop her from filming.

On 27 August, Mariana Rata from TV8 wrote on a social network that though she had shown her press badge, Police did not let her pass behind the fence that was installed temporarily around the Government, because she did not have a ‘blue permit’
Ziarul de Gardă published a video where it can be seen that the bodyguards of the Prime Minister Pavel Filip had not allowed Maria Genunchi and Aliona Ciurca to ask questions related to the protests.

We would like to mention that the media legislation guarantees the press representatives the right to participate in the public events and manifestations, obtain and distribute information, make audiovisual recordings, film and take pictures.

Article 1801 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova provides for the criminal liability for intentional obstruction to the activity of a media outlet or a journalist.

We emphasise that such deeds, when journalists’ rights are restricted, are incompatible with the national legislation and with the international standards on freedom of the press.

We remind the authorities from the Republic of Moldova that freedom of press is one of the core democracy values embedded in the Constitution.

We demand that the General Prosecutor’s Office act on its own initiative with respect to these cases and the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs conduct an own investigation to hold liable the people who violated the legal rights of the journalists.

Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Association of Electronic Press
Center for Investigative Journalism
Press Freedom Committee 
Association of Independent TV Journalists
‘Access-info’ Center
RISE Moldova