Only one day after the World Press Freedom Day, the Prime Minister, Ion Chicu, published on a social media network a message criticizing media outlets, especially the TV channel Pro TV. ‘Our ruthless artists lost their spot on the screens of “protvs” – “manele music” took their place (...) “the independent media” financed from “manele music” has no chance’.
Moreover, the Prime Minister accused indirectly the media owners for promoting unfair and inappropriate information, telling them to communicate the truth to people. ‘(...) objective information doesn’t bring too much money to media owners (...) Dear media owners, you should learn how to do honest business – tell people the truth. You will not get too far with money from “manele”.’
Unfortunately and with great concern, we note that the statements made by the Prime Minister, Ion Chicu, defame the journalist's status and contain enunciations inciting to hate against media outlets. We’d like to highlight again that hate speeches have nothing to do with the freedom of speech, including on social networks.
The state safeguards the honor, dignity and professional reputation of journalists and penalizes any enunciations that incite to hate against media outlets. Therefore, the fact that a high official hurled 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.
At the same time, Vitalie Dragancea, the communication adviser to Ion Chicu, assaulted the journalists in a statement previously made for Ziarul de Garda, saying that the Government doesn’t need the media to dismantle fake information. ‘We communicate with the citizens without you because we don’t believe you all the time. It would be good if the trade of journalism started to clean itself up. We don’t have time to do that for you.’ (author’s spelling maintained)
The signatory organizations are indignant at the denigrating attitude of the Prime Minister, Ion Chicu, and of his adviser, Vitalie Dragancea, and believe this is inappropriate behavior for individuals in public positions, particularly for Members of Parliament.
In these circumstances, we demand that Prime Minister Ion Chicu and his adviser, Vitalie Dragancea apologize publicly to media representatives and particularly to the TV channel Pro TV and stop spreading unsubstantiated accusations and denigrating information, while also refraining from hate-speeches against journalists.
Also, given the seriousness of the statements and all the ‘performances’ that prove the incompatibility of Vitalie Dragancea with the position of communication adviser, we demand his immediate resignation.
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
Association of Independent Press
Association of Electronic Press
Press Freedom Committee
Center for Investigative Journalism
Association of Independent TV Journalists
Ziarul de Garda