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Another World Press Freedom Day with the Same "Old" Issues

03 May 2017
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Several journalists and civil society representatives were picketing at the Parliament of Moldova on Wednesday, May 3. The event was initiated by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and was occasioned by the World Press Freedom Day. The participants aimed to show MPs that there are still many problems in the field of the media in our country that need to be solved.  
According to IJC Executive Director Nadine Gogu, these issues include the fact that media concentration in Moldova persists, reporters have no access to information of public interest, and there were even cases of their harassment. At the same time, changes are needed in the media legislation, in particular, adoption of amendments to the Law on Access to Information and of the new Broadcasting Code, which have been voted only in the first reading.
"By means of today's action, we came to remind lawmakers that the press faces problems that we have been speaking about for years and that should be solved once and for all, so that journalists could work undisturbed and we could have a free press. Because today, unfortunately, we have less independent media. Instead, we have press that depends on the funds from politicians or businesses," Nadine Gogu said. The same claims were invoked by the journalists present at picketing. According to them, it is increasingly difficult to get information from a state institution, while the purpose of the journalistic profession is to inform the public. They wore t-shirts with the inscription "Freedom to the Press" and held banners saying "We demand protection of the domestic media"; "No censorship"; "Free press = free society!"
To find out how free journalists feel while doing their work, Media Azi spoke with several media representatives who participated in the event. Elena Robu, the host of Unimedia portal's "Alb-Negru" show, said the authorities still remain closed for collaboration and MPs do not want to understand that the best way to inform the public is to be open for the press. "People in the government are not receptive. I’m saying it from personal experience. It has been exactly one year since I invited Speaker Andian Candu to the show, and he never came. I'll still wait for him, I don’t know, for about two or three years, as long as necessary. But people have no access to information from state officials, who must answer some questions the public is worried about," she said.
Reporter Viorica Tataru from Ziarul de Garda confessed that when she goes to the Parliament, she feels as being in a "cage": "Although our MPs claim that we are free and that the law guarantees this freedom, every time we went to the Parliament and tried to get some answers, they either did not respond or ran away from us... It proves that we don’t have the freedom we are told about..."
The monopolization of public institutions may lead to the disappearance of newspapers and magazines. This is the opinion of Lilia Curchi, editor-in-chief of Natura magazine. According to her, "now the print media is getting increasingly ‘strangled’ from the economic point of view. It is increasingly difficult to resist financial difficulties. And it happens because every day we are forced to cover different charges that make our existence even harder. The numbers of consumers of print media in Moldova decrease, and the culture of reading is not promoted at state level, either."
The Speaker of the Parliament Andrian Candu came out to the journalists and congratulated them on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day. He stressed that the necessary legislative changes referring to the media are possible only as a result of collaboration between the media and the Parliament.
Several events will be organized for Press Freedom Days in May.