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09.04.09/ 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 are expressing serious concern about the recent deterioration of the media situation in Moldova, violations against the public right to access information and recent incidences of journalists’ harassment by law enforcement officials.

Several reporters from the investigative newspaper "Ziarul de Garda," were harassed by police officers on the evening of April 8, 2009. The journalists’ arms were physically assaulted and were told that their cameras would be destroyed. On the same day, while doing his job, Oleg Brega, a cameraman for the Internet news channel Jurnal TV, was beaten by several individuals wearing plain clothes who then seized two of his video cameras. Ziarul de Garda and Jurnal TV have gathered evidence from both incidents which could identify the perpetrators, and are willing to provide this evidence to law enforcement officials. 

On Thursday, April 9, the social networking websites, Facebook.com and Odnoklassniki.ru were blocked for users in Moldova. The day before, administrators discovered that the server of the information portal Unimedia.md had been attacked several times. A number of online resources have been blocked for Moldovan users over the past 3 days. TV stations Realitatea TV and TVR 1 have been taken off the list of cable operators in Moldova. These stations disappeared on Tuesday night, at around 21.00. Cable operators have cited technical difficulties as the cause, but the rebroadcasting have yet to be restored. Consequently, Moldovans are being denied access to vital international sources of information. 

The signatory organizations contributing to this statement vehemently protest the attacks made on working journalists by Moldovan law enforcement officials and demand an immediate end to these abusive and illegal practices. The victims’ cases should be thoroughly investigated and those responsible for the attacks must be brought to justice.

In support of the constitutional right to access to information for all citizens through media, the signatory organizations call upon Moldovan authorities to ensure media freedom under the obligations incumbent to a member of the Council of Europe and to facilitate the public’s access to information.

Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Investigative Journalism Center
Young Journalist Center of Moldova
Union of Journalists of Moldova
Broadcast Media Association
“Acees-info” Center

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