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Local businesses refuse to provide billboard space to IJC

(IJC/IFEX) - The growing climate of distrust, uncertainty and fear in Moldovan society is becoming increasingly obvious, especially since the events of 7 April 2009.

As a result of pressures and harassment exerted on many media and nongovernmental organizations by the authorities, some businesses have become extremely watchful, preferring to lose potential profit than to cooperate with certain nongovernmental organizations. The refusal of some Chisinau-based advertising agencies to provide services to the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) for a public information campaign is an example of this.

In the context of World Press Freedom Day, the IJC intends to publicize broadly a number of provisions of the Moldovan Constitution, the Press Law and the European Convention on Human Rights, on human rights and fundamental freedoms. Specific articles refer to press freedom and media censorship (Press Law, Art. 1), to a person's right to information and the obligation of the media to report accurately (Moldovan Constitution, Art. 34), and to the guarantee of freedom of opinion and freedom of expression (Moldovan Constitution, Art. 32, European Convention on Human Rights) and do not have any political connotations. Nevertheless, three Chisinau-based advertising agencies, which own billboards on Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Boulevard, refused to rent out the advertising space to the IJC, citing various reasons, including concern about the political messages the advertisements would convey.

IJC is bewildered by the misinterpretation of these provisions of the national and international laws and attributes this situation to the direct consequence of the pressures and antidemocratic actions undertaken by the Moldovan authorities during the post-electoral period, which have led to the development of feelings of tension, fear and self-censorship among businesses as well as in society as a whole.

IJC calls on the public authorities to not perpetuate, through their actions, an atmosphere dominated by fear, anxiety and conflict, but to prove that they are open to the process of democratization and promotion of human rights.

Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Broadcast Media Association APEL
Acces-Info Center
Press Freedom Committee
Union of Journalists of Moldova
Young Journalist Center of Moldova

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