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Igor Dodon’s lawsuit against Ziarul de Gardă has been stopped

07 October 2021
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The Centru office of the Chisinau court stopped, by a decision of October 6, the lawsuit filed by Igor Dodon, former president of the country, against the newspaper Ziarul de Gardă (ZdG). The former head of state went to court in 2020, being dissatisfied with some information published in the journalistic investigation “The president’s luxury vacations”. The Independent Journalism Center provides legal assistance in this case.

According to ZdG, the seventh hearing in the lawsuit filed by Igor Dodon against ZdG took place of October 6, when his application regarding the defense of honor, dignity, and professional reputation was to be examined. Igor Dodon’s lawyer appeared only at the first hearing in the trial, in May 2020, and the applicant appeared at none. After Igor Dodon and his legal representative did not appear at the hearing and did not inform the court about the reasons for their absence, ZdG lawyer Ludmila Ouș requested stopping the lawsuit.

Thus, in the situation when the court found that the lawyer Oleg Tănase received the summons on June 29, 2021, but did not present to the court any evidence confirming the impossibility of his appearing at the hearing, the judges decided to admit the request of ZdG’s lawyer and stop the lawsuit filed by the former president.

The decision may be challenged in the Court of Appeal within 15 days. At the same time, Igor Dodon is entitled to submit a new application to the first instance. However, in the case of disputes concerning freedom of expression, the person concerned has only 30 days to go to court from the day when the media outlet responded or should have responded to the preliminary statement. Thus, a repeat lawsuit would be rejected by the court as being late.

Igor Dodon claimed that some information from the investigation “The president’s luxury vacations”, in which journalists wrote about the exotic places visited by the politician and his family during his time as Member of Parliament, was false and defamatory. Dodon complained about the violation of the right to privacy, demanding denial of some sentences that appeared in the investigation and public apologies from journalists.