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The Media NGOs Ask the State to Ensure the Security of Investigative Journalists

17 August 2016
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The media non-governmental organizations signal with concern the worsening of the working climate of the investigative journalists from the Republic of Moldova and seize the national authorities and the international organizations on the attempts to intimidate the investigative journalists by some people and public structures.

Thus, on Tuesday, 16 August 2016, the investigative journalist, Mariana Rata announced that her phone and her social network accounts are monitorized by unknown people, and recently she was notified that her IP address is used by a computer that doesn't belong to her. The journalist mentioned that these "strange things" occurred after an interview which she had "with a person that bothers much the regime" and reported the lack of journalists' security conditions in the Republic of Moldova. Previously, the journalist Natalia Morari stated that she would have information on planning a challenge against her after the revelations from her show[1].

In the last period, the investigative journalists who perform professional and well-documented investigations have been exposed to other forms of pressure. We remind the abusive actions of the Police Inspectorate from Taraclia district which ordered the journalists' query and the seizure of the materials on the basis of which was performed the journalistic investigation [2], the intimidating actions of the Department of Fighting Corruption of the Service of Internal Protection and Anti-corruption of MHA in relation to a reporter of the Centre of Journalistic Investigations [3]. The prior request, recently sent by the prosecutor Adriana Betisor to the investigative weekly newspaper "Ziarul de Garda", in the case of an article on the properties of her family, also represents a journalists' intimidating attempt who investigate the origin of wealth and personal properties of the people with public functions.

The recent statements of the minister of Justice, Vladimir Cebotari, that "the press is not a truthful source of information anymore"; that's why the National Authority of Integrity will not take action anymore from the journalistic materials on the wealth and interests of the people with public functions[4], are of maximum gravity and show that the authorities want to reduce the efficiency of the revelations from press on corruption, embezzlement and conflicts of interest. Such statements can't be tolerated in a society that respects the democratic values.

We draw your attention that the journalists' threat and intimidation is unacceptable, and the authorities have the duty to ensure the freedom of press and the security of mass media representatives. In democratic countries, the investigative journalists have a very important role in fighting against corruption and other crime and abuse, and the relevant reactions of the authorities to well -documented journalistic investigations represent a proof of the efficiency of the anti-corruption policies. We regret that some people with public functions don't understand that their duty is to be in the citizens' service and not their personal interests or the parties they represent, but the role of press is not to protect their image, but to serve in public interest.

The signatory non-governmental organizations ask:

The Parliament and the Government of the Republic of Moldova -

- to begin the process of elaboration of some additional amendments to the legislation in force to guarantee the  journalists' protection from intimidation and other forms of abuse;
- to return to the legislation which regulates the activity of the National Authority of Integrity (NAI) and to include the obligation of NAI to take action on the basis of relevant journalistic investigations, elaborated by the press institutions and the independent reporters which respect the principles of Ethics;

The Minister of Justice Vladimir Cebotari -

- to withdraw his statements about the press in public
 
Association of Independent Press
Independent Journalism Center
Association of Electronic Press
Center of Journalistic Investigations
Association of Independent TV Journalists
Committee for Press Freedom
Acces-Info” Center
Young Journalist Center of Moldova