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TV journalist assaulted by law enforcement officer

(IJC/IFEX) - 3 August 2010 - On 28 July, Victor Ciobanu, a reporter working for Jurnal TV, was assaulted by an employee of the Moldovan Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption (CCECC). The incident occurred in front of the Chisinau Court of Appeal building while the journalist was shooting a news piece about a copyright court case.

According to Ciobanu, during the shooting a CCECC employee approached him and without identifying himself he destroyed the reporter's camera and removed the memory card which contained images shot during the assault. Later the same day, at the police station, the memory card was returned to Ciobanu, but the images it contained had been removed.

The five undersigned Moldovan media NGOs deem the incident as an intolerable case in a democratic society. Therefore, an objective and transparent investigation of the case is mandatory. The NGOs urge the Moldovan law enforcement bodies not to overlook the case and not to tolerate such attitudes by their employees as regards the media.

The media NGOs also stress that Moldova is approaching a highly sensitive social and political period with two election campaigns coming up in autumn 2010. In connection with this, the undersigned NGOs call on the authorities to demonstrate respect for the media in general and journalists in particular. The NGOs warn the authorities that, according to European principles on media, the press not only has the right but also the obligation to report on events of public interest and any impediment in carrying out this duty directly violates the universal right of citizens to information.

Signatory NGOs:

Independent Journalism Center
Independent Press Association
Electronic Media Association
Center for Investigative Journalism
"Access-info" Center

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