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Media NGOs request the Prosecutor Office to prevent any illegal pressure on the media PDF Print E-mail

To Mister Andrei Pântea,

Interim General Prosecutor of Moldova

Dear Mr. Pântea,

On the 11 of April, 2013, the  ”Ziarul de Gardă” newspaper related the story of the author of a journalistic investigation in the article entitled: "prosecutor demands the reporter to disclose his sources of information" , concerning the illegal sale of military equipment from the National Army depot, which was accosted by Chisinau prosecutors in order to reveal the source.

Appreciating the diligence of the law enforcement bodies, which began ex officio a criminal investigation on the basis of a journalistic investigation article, we point out that the right to protection of journalistic sources is one of the basic conditions for press freedom and it is protected under national and international law; the prosecutors have to conduct they activity according to the principle of legality.

According to the Law on freedom of expression, in a criminal trial, the prosecutor or the court, by law, may require the person to disclose the source of information if the following conditions are met:

    a) the criminal offenses are labeled as particularly serious or exceptionally serious;
    b) disclosure of the source is absolutely necessary for the prosecution;
    c) all possibilities to identify the source of information by other means have been exhausted.

Moreover, according to the Journalists Code of Ethics, the protection of professional secrecy and confidentiality of sources shall equally be the journalist’s right and obligation. The journalist shall protect the identity of sources, including in the courts of law, from prosecutors, police, and other law-enforcement bodies. We believe that, even if the prosecutors are not guided in their work by the mentioned Code, they should not create any obstacles to journalists to observe it, in the interests of journalistic professionalism and in public interest in general.

In light of the above, media NGOs request the Prosecutor Office, as the institution that coordinates the activities of the subordinate prosecutor, to take necessary actions to prevent any illegal pressure on the media.

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