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CORRECTION: Newspaper staff harassed after publishing critical report

(IJC/IFEX) - Please note that a version of this alert issued on 22 September 2008 erroneously stated that the Security and Information Service had recruited a group of young men to harass the "Ziarul de Garda" newspaper's staff. In fact, an employee of the security forces recruited the young men for another mission. After the newspaper published an article referring to this fact, newspaper staff were harassed by unidentified persons. The IFEX Clearing House apologises for the error. The corrected version of this alert follows:

The following is a 12 September 2008 joint press release by IJC and other Moldovan media organisations:

Investigative journalists intimidated after publishing an article about the Security and Information Service

Mass media nongovernmental organizations are concerned over the harassment and intimidation of journalists of the investigation weekly "Ziarul de Garda".

"Ziarul de Garda" reported it was subjected to pressure and was threatened by phone and email after it had published on September 4, 2008 an article titled "Torrid Summer at SIS". The article referred to an employee of the Security and Information Service, who reportedly recruited a group of young men for a mission. Following the article's publication, unidentified persons threatened to tap the phones of the staff, pretended that they knew the names of the article's authors, their personal addresses, and that of their family members, threatening them with "troubles with SIS".

Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, as well as Article 32 of the Moldovan Constitution guarantee the rights of a person to freedom of expression. European institutions have repeatedly confirmed that journalists have the right and the obligation to report in media issues that concern the public. Moreover, according to Article 1 of the Press Law, the State has the obligation to guarantee to every person the right to free expression of opinion and ideas, the right to seek and receive accurate reporting on national and international events.

We call on the Government, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Security and Information Service to ensure the protection of journalists from "Ziarul de Garda", to identify and punish those that limit the right to information and free expression without grounds.

We call on the civil society, political parties and representatives of the European organizations to make common cause with the intimidated journalists and oppose the suppression of the pluralism and freedom of speech in Moldova.

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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