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The Journalists’ Crisis Cell Condemns the Accusations Made by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Vlad Batrincea, Against the Press

24 April 2020
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The journalists’ crisis cell, set up by the Independent Journalism Center to demand transparency and proper access to information from the authorities in the context of the state of emergency declared in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, condemns the unfounded accusations and denigrative statements made by Vlad Batrincea, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, from the Parliament lectern.

In his speech delivered at the Parliament plenary session of 23 April 2020, Vlad Batrincea accused the journalists of receiving under-the-table salaries of thousands of euros and not paying any taxes, stressing out that in times of pandemic, the western partners have focused their financial support onto media companies. ‘[...] Stop paying journalists millions of euros. [...] Why should a journalist be paid thousands of untaxed euros under the table, with no mandatory premiums for health insurance either?’ the MP said in his discourse.

What is more, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament was discontent with the media companies contacting health facility staff to obtain journalistic content regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of emergency.

We have to flag, unfortunately, and with great concern, that the statements made by Vlad Batrincea defamed journalists and contained enunciations inciting to hate against the media.
It bears mentioning that the state safeguards the honor, dignity, and professional reputation of journalists and penalizes any form of action hindering and intimidating the media. We would also like to stress that interference with the press, including the acquisition of information for journalistic material, is prohibited by law. We’d like to highlight, in this context, that the unjustified interference of the MP Batrincea in the mass-media work was inadmissible.

Therefore, the fact that a high government official hurled, from the Parliament lectern, a message that was an infringement of the law, is also an encroachment upon the democratic values and principles of the country, which is to be punished in line with the law and publicly condemned.

In these circumstances, we demand that the MP Vlad Batrincea apologize publicly to mass-media representatives and stops spreading unsubstantiated accusations and denigratory information, while also refraining from hate-speeches against journalists.

Note that anyone who disagrees with a journalist’s working methods or materials can contact the Press Council of the Republic of Moldova, which is to examine thereafter the complaint and assess the journalist’s professional behavior and/or work quality.
Independent Journalism Center
IPN Press Agency
Environment and Ecotourism Journalists’ Association of the Republic of the Republic of Moldova
Association of Electronic Press
Association of Independent Press
‘Acces-Info’ Center
Center for Investigative Journalism
‘CU SENS’ Media Portal

Elena Robu, ER News
Foreign Policy Association
Institute for Public Policy
Jurnal TV

Legal Resources Centre of Moldova
Maria Levcenco, Media Expert at the Institute for Strategic Initiatives (IPIS)
'Nature' Magazine
Newspaper 'Cuvantul'
Newspaper 'Gazeta de Chișinău'

Press Freedom Committee
Radio Orhei
'Realitatea' Press Group
Ziarul de Garda