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Media NGOs request investigations of the threats to Ziarul de Gardă staff

18 October 2013
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Media NGOs are asking the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s Office to thoroughly investigate the case of threats against the team from Ziarul de Gardă and to take all necessary measures to protect their lives and property.

On 17 October 2013, the weekly investigative newspaper Ziarul de Gardă informed the public that it had received a telephone call from a person who introduced himself as Renato Usatîi and cursed and threatened them as he was dissatisfied with an article published on the paper’s website several hours prior and with the editorial policy of newspaper Timpul. The caller was also displeased with the fact that the newspaper failed to publish his statements about various politicians. Renato Usatîi is a Moldovan businessman who has been widely publicized in the media lately.

Intimidation, threats, interference with editorial policy, and other methods intended to “discipline journalists” or to censure journalistic investigations must be condemned without reserve in a state governed by the rule of law. According to the current legislation of Moldova, intentionally preventing the work of a media outlet or a journalist, intimidating a media outlet or a journalist because of an article published, and censorship are subject to criminal liability.

We are also appealing for solidarity among journalists regarding protecting the right of free expression and press freedom. We are asking public officials to refrain from threatening journalists they disagree with, and if they feel that their rights have been violated to appeal to the Press Council, a body that mediates conflicts, or to use the methods prescribed by law.

We are asking the law enforcement authorities to thoroughly investigate the case of Ziarul de Gardă to identify the author of the threats addressed to the journalists and to subject the responsible person/persons to the sanctions provided by the law in force.
Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Journalistic Investigations Center
Young Journalist Center
Journalists Union of Moldova