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Access to Original Declarations of Assets of the Candidates for the 2019 Parliamentary Elections is Still Denied. Request filed by RISE Moldova against CEC, rejected

27 February 2020
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Riscani office of Chisinau Court rejected the complaint filed by RISE Moldova against the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) for violating the right to access to information. The decision was delivered on February 19, 2020 after more than a year since the journalists requested the original declarations of assets of the candidates for the Parliamentary Elections of 2019. At that time, CEC refused to provide these documents to the journalists. 

The judge Galina Ciobanu, who pronounced the decision, found that the complaint of the Association of Investigative Reporters and Editorial Security (Rise Moldova) was unfounded. The decision can be appealed within 30 days from its delivery. The National Centre for the Protection of Personal Data is a third party in this case.  

Vitalie Zama, who represented the journalists in the court, was surprised by the decision because in the past, in similar cases, he was successful. The lawyer said to Media Azi that he would lodge an appeal. 

On January 16, the journalists from RISE Moldova requested CEC to give them access to the original declarations of assets of the candidates for the Parliamentary Elections. The reporters reasoned their request through the fact that they needed more information about the candidates after they faced difficulties while investigating this topic.  Their request was rejected on the grounds that the documents contain personal data. 

The Commission said that the original documents could be accessed by journalists only at the headquarters of CEC after signing a confidentiality agreement. When the reporters went to sign the agreement, the latter invoked they could not provide the original documents that contain personal data even if RISE Moldova has the status of personal data operator. 

The Independent Journalism Center offers free legal aid to the journalists from RISE Moldova on this case.