Media NGOs condemn abuses committed against journalists at PDM’s assembly

Media nongovernmental organizations condemn the prevention of journalists representing a number of media outlets from covering the rally staged by the Democratic Party (PDM) in Chisinau on October 21, IPN reports.

In a statement, the media NGOs say a journalist of the portal agora.md approached Prime Minister Pavel Filip, Speaker of Parliament Andrian Candu and president of the PDM Vlad Plahotniuc to put them questions about the assembly. Before the eyes of the officials who smiled, the journalist was pulled away by the acting director of the State Guard and Protection Service Anatolie Golea and other security officers and also by members of the PDM’s team, who argued these are required security measures.

The signatories noted that at the same event journalist of the paper Ziarul de Gardă Viorica Tataru and journalists of Radio Free Europe Ștefan Grigoriță were abused by carabineers and prevented from filming. As a result, Viorica Tataru remained without the journalist’s permit, while Ștefan Grigoriță had his cellphone struck and this ultimately fell. The NGOs consider that by such unmotivated gestures of aggression, the journalists were prevented from doing their job.

According to the signatories, the law stipulates criminal punishment for deliberate hampering of media activity. The journalists have the right to take part in public events, to film, to take pictures and to broadcast information, while the citizens have the right to receive information through the mass media.

“We call on the Prosecutor General’s Office to examine these cases of abuse and to hold those who broke the law and infringed journalists’ rights accountable. We call on the political parties not to shirk the responsibility of respecting the rights of media representatives at the events they hold. We call upon Prime Minister Pavel Filip to examine the case and to explain publicly how the Government treats these situations of intimidation and abuse against journalists. We also request the leader of the ruling party to provide public explanations as to the aggressive behavior of the law enforcement agencies at the events organized by the party he heads,” reads the statement.

The statement was signed by the Independent Journalism Center, the Association of Independent Press, the Electronic Press Association, the Journalistic Investigations Center, the Committee for the Freedom of the Press, the Association of Independent Tele-Journalists, the Center “Acces-Info” and RISE Moldova.