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Denial of accreditation to foreign journalists "an attempt by government to restrict access to information," says IJC

(IJC/IFEX) - The following is a 28 July 2008 joint press release by IJC and other Moldovan media organisations:

Media organisations concerned over Moldovan authorities' refusal to provide accreditation to foreign journalist

On 23 July 2008, the Romanian news agency NewsIn reported a journalist, Lina Grau, being denied access to the conference held by the Moldovan President Voronin, alleging she lacked accreditation. NewsIn applied for accreditation for Grau to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on 14 April.

According to the regulation on foreign journalists' accreditation, the process of accreditation shall not take more then 30 days. Grau has yet to be provided accreditation, and thereby has been deprived of her right to attend media events held by the leader of the republic.

The journalist has not been contacted by the MFA during these three months for additional documents to be filed to her accreditation dossier. Neither has she been provided an official refusal or notice regarding the delay in accreditation. Therefore, we have reasonable grounds to doubt that MFA is observing the legislation on foreign journalists' accreditation.

Lately, media outlets have reported several other cases of accreditation being denied or withheld. Two Russian journalists and several other Romanian journalists were denied accreditation, without explanation. These acts can only be understood as an attempt by government to restrict access to information.

According to the regulation on foreign journalists' accreditation and activity, adopted by the government in its decision number 359 of 1995, a foreign journalist may be denied accreditation if s/he was found guilty by a court of committing a crime.

We, the undersigned media organizations, urge Moldovan authorities - in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration - to act in good faith, to respect the principle of impartiality and the regulation on journalists' accreditation, and to stop hindering citizens' access to information.

Independent Journalism Center
Independent Press Association
Association of Electronic Press
Acces-info Center
Journalistic Investigation Center
Union of Journalists from Moldova
Young Journalist Center from Moldova

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