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Media NGOs request the General Prosecutor’s Office to refrain from pressuring journalists to disclose their sources

Dear Mr. Pantea,

On 11 April 2013, in the article “Prosecution requesting journalists to disclose sources”, newspaper Ziarul de Garda wrote that after the publication of the journalistic investigation regarding illegal sales of military equipment from the stores of the National Army, its author was approached by representatives of the Chisinau prosecution service with the request to disclose his source.

While we appreciate the initiative that the law enforcement authorities showed following the publication of the investigation, which demonstrates the diligence of law enforcement, we would also like to remind you about the inadmissibility of violating a journalist’s right to protect sources of information and about the obligation of the law enforcement agencies to operate according to the principles of legality.

It should be remembered that the Law on the Freedom of Expression stipulates a single situation when a person can be obliged to disclose his/her source of information, namely during criminal proceedings and only if all of the following conditions are met:

a) The criminal case concerns especially grave or extremely grave crimes;
b) Disclosure of the source is absolutely necessary for criminal proceedings;
c) All possibilities to identify the source by other means have been exhausted.

Moreover, according to the Code of Ethics, journalists have the right and obligation to protect their sources including in court and from the prosecution, police and other law enforcement bodies. Even if prosecutors are not guided by this Code in their work, we believe that their actions should not deter journalists from observing it, both for journalistic professionalism and for the interests of the general public.

In light of the above, media NGOs are asking the General Prosecutor’s Office as a body that coordinates the activities of public prosecutors to take the necessary measures to exclude illegal pressure on mass media representatives.

Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Electronic Press Association – APEL
Journalistic Investigations Center
”Acces-Info” Center
Journalists Union of Moldova
Press Freedom Committee
Young Journalist Center of Moldova