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Media NGOs Condemn the Illegal Actions of the Military Peacekeepers against Journalists

23 July 2020
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Media non-governmental organizations voice their deep concern for, and disapproval of, the intimidating and aggressive actions of the Mixed Peacekeeping Forces against journalists Viorica Tataru and Andrei Captarenco.
 
As reported by Viorica Tataru, on July 21 2020, she made a fact-finding visit near Molovata Noua village for her article on war veterans and was intimidated and assaulted physically by a serviceman from the troops dispatched to the security posts on the Nistru River.

To be more precise, the peacekeepers were disturbed by the journalists making video footage of the river and its adjacent areas while performing their professional duty. One of the servicemen hit Viorica Tataru, took her phone, and deleted multiple records.

When the journalist and her colleague got later on the ferryboat to cross the Nistru River, three peacekeepers brought it to a halt by force to arrest them. Having refused to follow the illegal order of the armed military peacekeepers, the journalists and the other passengers remained blocked aboard for about an hour until the notified police unit arrived.
 
We draw the attention of the legitimate authorities of the Republic of Moldova to the severe interferences with the human rights and freedoms safeguarded at the national and international level, expressed as both violation of the right to bodily integrity, individual freedom and safety, and interferences with the special rights granted to journalists.

We remind that according to Article 24(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the State guarantees every individual the right to life and physical and mental integrity. Moreover, Article 25 of the supreme law states that the individual freedom and security of a person are inviolable and that searching, detaining in custody, or arresting a person is permitted only in cases and according to the procedure established by the law.

Note that according to Article 4(1) of the Law on Freedom of Expression, the State shall guarantee the freedom of expression of the media, stating that nobody may forbid or prevent the media from disseminating information of public interest unless it is done within the limits of the law. What is more, paragraph (5) of the same article provides that the intentional illegal hindering of media’s work entails criminal liability.

The signatory organizations condemn strongly the abusive and illegal actions of the Mixed Peacekeeping Forces against journalists and stress that tolerating such severe violations is unacceptable.

With regards to the aforementioned, we ask the Moldovan Delegation to the Unified Control Commission (UCC) and the Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration of the Moldovan Government to undertake the following, by virtue of their legal duties:

  • take note of the violations committed by the Mixed Peacekeeping Forces;
  • request a meeting of the UCC;
  • demand that a procedure to establish the unlawful nature of the Mixed Peacekeepers Forces’ actions is initiated;
  • make public the information on the measures taken following the notification.
We also call on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor the process of establishing the unlawful nature of the peacekeepers’ actions and sanctioning those who broke the law.
 
Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Center for Investigative Journalism
Association of Independent TV Journalists
Press Freedom Committee
Environment and Ecotourism Journalists’ Association
Electronic Press Association from Moldova