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Local media groups concerned about recent attacks on journalists, violations to access to information

(IJC/IFEX) - The following is a declaration by IJC and several other organisations:

Declaration of media NGOs from Moldova on the situation of the press, violations of the right to access to information and attacks on journalists

Media NGOs express concern about the degradation in the last few days of the media situation in Moldova, the violation of the right to access to information of public interest, and the harassment of journalists.

On the evening of 8 April, several reporters from the investigative newspaper "Ziarul de Garda" were harassed by police officers who refused to identify themselves. Journalists had their arms twisted, and police threatened to destroy their cameras. On the same day, Oleg Brega, a cameraman for the Internet-based Jurnal TV, was beaten by several people in plain clothes who seized two video cameras. The newspaper "Ziarul de Garda" and Jurnal TV have evidence of the incidents that could help in identifying the perpetrators. They are willing to make the evidence available to law enforcement officials.

In another incident, on 9 April, Facebook and the social network Odnoklassniki.ru became inaccessible to users in Moldova. On 8 April, unimedia.md information portal administrators found that the Unimed server was attacked several times. This is not the first time that certain online resources have been inaccessible in Moldova in the last three days. At least two broadcasters stopped retransmitting the Romanian channels Realitatea TV and TVR 1, on Moldovan territory. At around 9:00 p.m. (local time) on 7 April, a station was no longer on the list of available television channels. Broadcasters cite technical reasons; however their promises to restore the transmission of TV channels have not been fulfilled yet. Thus, the public is deprived of important international sources of information.

In these circumstances, the signatory organisations protest vehemently against attacks on journalists by representatives of the law, and demand an immediate end to these abusive and illegal practices, as well as an investigation into these cases to bring to account those responsible for abuses against journalists.

Underlying the importance of observing the constitutional right to access to information through the media, including the Internet and other available means, the signatory organisations call on the authorities of Moldova to ensure media freedom under the obligations incumbent to Moldova as a member of the Council of Europe.

Signed,

Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Investigative Journalism Center
Young Journalist Center of Moldova
Union of Journalists of Moldova
Broadcast Media Association

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