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International Reports About Liberties in the Republic of Moldova

08 February 2017
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Aneta GROSU, Editor-in-chief, Ziarul de Gardă

A week ago, the international organization Freedom House, headquartered in the U.S., published its traditional annual report on the enforcement of rights and liberties around the world. Indicators assigned to Moldova remained unchanged for the past five years, with 3rd place out of 7, this assessment placing us in the category of partly free countries. Truly, Moldova is not the only partly free state, positioned near other 65 partly free countries. It is a third of the 195 states included in the Report. According to the same study, Ukraine, Moldova’s neighbor, qualifies as a partly free country as well, whereas the other immediate neighbor, Romania, reached the free country index since 1999. Conversely, at a distance of less than 1000 kilometers is the Russian Federation, considered a not free country, which lately regressed even more, according to the Freedom House Report. It regressed so strongly that rights and liberties experts consider there is nowhere further to fall. For us, as the chairmanship of the state was obtained by a president who declares himself pro-Russia without hesitation, we can expect an immediate impact on Moldova regarding the way rights are liberties are handled in the Russian Federation. Thus, the political interests of the two heads of state, Putin and Dodon, can be largely achieved by limiting the rights and liberties of citizens. Risks are increasing in relation to the fact that immediately after the 2016 presidential elections Moldova entered the parliamentary elections campaign, which would take place in 2018. It is well known that in any election in Moldova, without exception, politicians forget about the liberties of citizens, considering only their own as priorities.

Authorities do not react when restriction of freedoms is detected

However, let’s return to the most recent signals of the study conducted by Freedom House. Authorities in Chisinau did not react in any manner to the data presented by this international institution, which monitored the rights and liberties of people from 195 countries of the world, even if, indirectly, these numbers concern the abuses conducted by the governance against citizens. Through the exhibited silence, leadership makes it clear that this data, dull at first sight, does not matter for them; these covering the suffering, despair, and pain of citizens.

Moreover, the authorities prefer that their silence is amplified by a “special” treatment from mass-media, also being qualified as partly free in the Freedom House Report. To this end, methodically and consistently, leadership is limiting the access of the press to public information. The most recent intervention relates to limiting the access to court records, which until recently could be found by defendant’s name. For that matter, authorities found an exceptional solution to hide from the press everything they agree that society should not find out. This solution is entitled “personal data protection.” Under this pretext the press will not be able to find exact data on the wealth, property or abuses by officials. Under this “intelligent” pretext the press will not have access to courtrooms, to formerly public meetings... We could find that the press won’t be allowed to Government or Parliament meetings, where decisions are made about the allocation of state budget funds or the allocation of land and buildings owned by the state. When mentioning that the press in Moldova is partly free, Freedom House does not only reference independent media, faced with several economic problems, with restrictions in accessing databases and with increasingly limited possibilities of the press consumers to subscribe to an independent publication. Freedom House also references the other media in Moldova, which is technically well-equipped and financially secure, however exclusively pleading to the interests of those who subsidize it.

Negligence of the 54 articles of the Constitution is reflected in the decisions of ECHR

It seems that authorities hardly care about the Constitution, about the 54 articles included in the special title, called “Fundamental Rights and Liberties,” the most important being the “Right to Life and Physical and Mental Integrity,” “Individual Freedom and Security of Person,” “Inviolability of Domicile,” “Freedom of Conscience,” “Freedom of Opinion and Expression,” “Right of Access to Information,” “Right to Vote and Right to Stand for Election,” “Right to Lodge Petitions...” In the case of those 54 rights included in the 54 articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, theoretically, the state guarantees their inviolability and firm respect to every individual. However in reality, daily, in Moldova, the press is limited in its rights to inform in an equidistant, reasonable and documented manner on what is happening in the top echelon of leadership. Daily, in Moldova, citizens have exclusive access to blunted information and fake press analysis, written under the influence of leadership factors. (...)

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The article was published within the Advocacy Campaigns Aimed at Improving Transparency of Media Ownership, Access to Information and promotion of EU values  and integration project, implemented by the IJC, which is, in its turn, part of the Moldova Partnerships for Sustainable Civil Society project, implemented by FHI 360.

This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content are the responsibility of author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Photo source: www.radioeuropalibera.org