In fact, at the end of the last week, according to reports of some mass media, crews of Jurnal TV and Omega News Portal were physically and verbally abused during a public protest. The incident took place on Friday evening, when the journalists were on mission to film public protests in front of the Democratic Party First Vice-Chairman Vladimir Plahotniuc’s residence. At a certain moment, the protesters were approached by a number of persons in civvies, and the two camps entered into conflict. Jurnal TV attempted to film this scene, but these persons in civvies physically attacked the camerman. “He was vehemently hit in the chest, and his camera dropped on the sidewalk” reports the TV Channel. During the same protest, Omega crew was blocked while trying to film in the court of Vladimir Plahotniuc’s residence, and their camera was destroyed. These acts of abuse took place in presence of law enforcement agents who did not intervene.
We firmly condemn this incident and consider that such police behavior towards mass media representatives was inadequate and non-professional. We regretfully state that notwithstanding our continuous appeals towards law enforcement agencies urging them to manifest correct attitude to mass media and protect journalists in the course of their duties, the latter are still threatened and exposed to physical and verbal abuse in presence of policemen. We remind that deliberate obstacles to mass media or journalists’ activities is a criminal act persecuted according to Art. 180 prime of the Penal Code of the Republic of Moldova.
We ask the Minister of Interiors and personally Oleg Balan, Minister-in-Office, to undertake operative investigation of this case and explain publicly, why his subordinates preferred to watch passively the journalists being abused instead of offering adequate protection to them. At the same time, we ask to identify those people in civvies who abused the two crews of journalists, and punish them in accordance with the legislation in force.
Independent Press Association
Moldova Electronic Press Association
Investigative Journalism Center
Independent TV Journalists Association