“You Were Killing Journalists, But You Have Not Killed the Truth.” Flashmob in Front of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Chisinau on the Press Freedom Day

Felicia Nedzelschi

A flashmob in front of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Chisinau was held on the World Press Freedom Day. Many journalists, human rights activists, and civil society members gathered today in front of the diplomatic mission as a sign of solidarity and resistance against the pressure exerted by the Moscow authorities on their colleagues.

The activity organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) was held under the slogan “United for Press Freedom. The Truth Cannot Be Suppressed!” Through this activity, the IJC intended to emphasize the importance of safety conditions in which journalists can practice their work, as well as the impact of large-scale censorship against freedom of expression. The flashmob participants demonstrated caricatures and messages which emphasized the importance of protecting media independence and countering censorship and intimidation.

Nadine Gogu, IJC Executive Director, specifies that the activity in front of the Russian diplomatic mission is already taking place for the third consecutive year. “We do it to signal, once again, about the impact of the war on the freedom of the press, and also to commemorate our colleagues who lost their lives while doing their job. We protest against the war unleashed by the Russian Federation, as well as against the war propaganda and manipulation from Moscow which are aimed against the states of the former Soviet area and several countries of the European Union. We condemn the Kremlin’s restrictive policies against the free press and also show our solidarity with the independent Russian journalists whose fundamental rights are being restricted and breached,” the IJC executive director told Media Azi.

Journalist Viorica Tataru says that the Moldovan press has been involved in this struggle continuously for several years, and the current freedom of our press is endangered by pro-Russian propaganda. “We have to counter these propaganda narratives. We need to do this, though we don’t have to, because we are only supposed to provide information. But sometimes, you actually need to explain to people that they are being manipulated, to show them what the truth is. The Russian Federation has made large investments in TV channels and other media. For these reasons, it is difficult for us to act, because we do not use the same weapons. On the contrary, they use the tools we have obtained with such difficulty, with this freedom. They claim they enjoy freedom of speech, but it’s trite, paradoxical, and hypocritical to enjoy these rights when all you do is act against them. We don’t have as many solutions to their disinformation, but we keep trying. Not only the media should counter is, but each of us is supposed to do that,” the journalist said.

Anastasia Antoceanu, editor-in-chief of the portal, insists that it is important that the press remains free from self-censorship. “I believe that such events gradually help raise awareness of this issue in society. As journalists, we live in our own bubble, and we have the privilege of working in a free newsroom. But there are other people whom I cannot even consider journalists, who do not do their work honestly, and who, unfortunately, claim that they have no idea where the money they receive comes from. They work for the outlets financed from dubious, pro-Russian sources, and when we see the rhetoric they spread, we can no longer talk about information, we can only discuss propaganda, the hybrid war the Russian Federation is waging in the territory of our country,” the journalist says.

Also today, the IJC launched the Memorandum on the Freedom of the Press from May 3, 2023, to May 3, 2024, which covers the main issues faced by the press in the Republic of Moldova.

On May 20, the IJC will announce the winners of the fourth Tulip Press Awards contest. The journalists sent the materials in which they covered various topics related to respecting (and failing to respect) human rights in the Republic of Moldova to the contest to raise public awareness of such topics.

The agenda of the events organized by the IJC and other media organizations on the occasion of the Press Freedom Days is available here.

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