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Foreign journalists harassed and expelled by authorities

(IJC/IFEX) - On 14 April 2009, Romanian public television (TVR) reporter Doru Dendiu was ordered by the Moldovan authorities to leave the country.

Under the pretext of alleged violations of the Regulation on accreditation of journalists, the Chisinau authorities withdrew the accreditation of the journalist. In a TV interview, Doru Dendiu says that he never violated the laws and that Moldovan police officers told him to leave Moldova. At the end of the week of 13 April, Doru Dendiu was detained for several hours by Moldovan police.

Romanian Society of Television (SRTV) released a statement of protest against the withdrawal of accreditation by the Moldovan authorities to the TVR correspondent in Chisinau. SRTV is of the opinion that this measure is a new attempt to intimidate honest journalism.

Petru Terguta, journalist for Moldavian TV 7 and correspondent for Antena 3, a Romanian news channel, cameraman Dan Nitescu and image assistant Victor Alexandru left the country under OSCE escort on 10 April. They complained about violent and abusive behaviour of Philip N. Remler, head of the OSCE mission in Moldova. Remler invited the team, already under threat by local police and secret services, into the OSCE building. Terguta received threatening calls and a warning that he will be arrested. The team was looking for assistance and protection. Once in the building, journalists said that Remler shouted at them, saying that they should leave the building immediately, or else they "will call the police". The Antena 3 team eventually left the building, and they also left the country in an OSCE car that escorted them to the border.

Ion Terguta (brother of Petru Terguta), who stayed in Chisinau with the aim to report for Antena 3, was arrested on the street and taken to police in the same car with Dendiu on 10 April. He was held for more than six hours, with no access to a lawyer. His cell phone was confiscated.

Radio Romania News Agency News In withdrew their correspondents from Chisinau at the end of the week of 13 April.

On 9 April, a Realitatea TV crew (journalist Yevgenyia Kironaki, cameraperson Mihai Valentin Buzdugan and driver Gabriel Colac) were detained at 9 p.m. (local time), held for four hours and forced to get out of the country. On 17 April, the Realitatea TV team reported from Romania that they have been intimidated by police officers while in custody. Police officers said "we should shoot them" and "they will get two years in prison, for sure".

On 10 April, the editor-in-chief of "Jurnal de Chisinau", Rodica Mahu, was arrested on the street by four civilians. Her phone was switched off for several hours. After two-and-a-half hours, she was released. She told the media she was arrested by officers of the police special missions department and she was accused of "assessing and collecting information to attack the government building".

Fourteen journalists from Jurnal TV and Jurnal de Chisinau asked for US political asylum. The journalists said they are threatened and harrassed. In many videos posted on the Jurnal TV website, police are seen threatening the television crews.

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