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“The Media is not a Target!” – The Message of the Media Solidarity March

12 May 2016
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Over one hundred journalists from various national and local media outlets participated on Thursday, May 12, in the Media Solidarity March organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) as part of this year’s Press Freedom Days. Through this action, media representatives wanted to remind the government about the problems of the media and to ask them to solve those problems.

Journalists gathered in the morning in front of the Press House, where they were given ribbons and T-shirts with the image of a target and the message that the media should not be the target of politicians. Then, participants marched in front of the government building, along Stefan cel Mare Boulevard, to their final destination – the parliament building. Here, they chanted slogans, such as “Freedom to the press!”, “Down with censorship!”, “Down with manipulation!”, “Stop concentration!”, etc.

IJC Executive Director Nadine Gogu told the media that the purpose of the action was to unite the representatives of the media community in order to request, in one voice, solution to the problems that had been found in recent years.

“We appeal to MPs, of course, because they are the ones who can influence, change things for the better. If they want it, they can, including by improving the legal framework and by ensuring implementation of the laws that are adopted, do so that journalists no longer complain about problems related to access to information or concentration,” Nadine Gogu said.

The journalists present at the event admitted that, indeed, they had been facing increasing problems lately. Cristina Lupan-Vlah, reporter for politik.md, told Media Azi that, in her opinion, the Solidarity March is important in order to remind authorities that the media is not a tool in their hands, which they can use as they wish.

“Any form of pressure on journalists by officials, politicians, civil servants, or any other public person is reprehensible. This march was also a way to express my indignation at intimidation and pressure on the media. A journalist should be allowed to do their work honestly, in the public interest; only thus people can obtain objective and accurate information. The second reason why I came to the March today is related to free access to information,” the journalist added.

The entire team of Agora.md attended the event in order to support the idea of solidarity among journalists. “Unfortunately, the solidarity of our community is almost invisible. But we also came here to remind lawmakers, in case they forgot, that the press is not a target and that they are directly responsible for ensuring media freedom,” said Victoria Dumbrava, editor-in-chief of the Agora portal.

Her colleague Cristina Gutu, TV7 channel’s general producer, added: “Moldova is going through a very difficult period, and by today’s action, free and uncontrolled media expressed their desire to have their rights respected, demonstrating that they can be united in vision. They marched together to give hope to the people, for whom they do their job, and to be heard by the government, who most often ignore us.”

Journalists asked elected officials to come out of the parliament building in order to talk to the press, and several MPs, including Parliament Speaker Andrian Candu, did come out to demonstrators. Assailed by journalists’ questions, accompanied by slogans, the speaker proposed to organize a meeting with media representatives next week in order to discuss the sector’s problems.

Press Freedom Days in Moldova will continue until May 30. Please note that as part of this massive event, the Memorandum of Press Freedom for the period of May 3, 2015 to May 3, 2016 has been produced by several media organizations, and the IJC initiated the first cycle of “Media Azi” broadcasts and installed in front of the parliament building a board with “Enemies of the Press.”

See the Agenda of activities here.