According to Jurnal TV reporter Iulia Sarivan, on 16 December 2020, while on duty at the protest in front of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, she became the victim of aggression from masked law enforcers, who used tear gas on her. Together with the journalist, a cameraman of the Pro TV channel suffered too from the abusive actions of law enforcers.
Note that, according to the provisions of the Law on the General Inspectorate of Carabineers, the use of special means by carabineers shall take place in strict accordance with the requirements stipulated by law and only in case of need to ensure compliance with legal requirements by people who violate the public order and undertake illegal actions.
At the same time, the law establishes the obligation of carabineers to carry out their professional activity exclusively on the basis and for the purposes of implementing the law, being obliged to strictly observe the rights, human freedoms and human dignity.
The use of tear gas against journalists carrying out their mission to inform citizens on matters of public interest, whose behaviour did not constitute in any way a danger to public order and security, is an illegal practice that undermines the freedom of the press.
According to Article 4(1) of the Law on Freedom of Expression, the state shall guarantee the freedom of expression of the media, stating that no-one may forbid or prevent the media from disseminating information of public interest, unless it is done within the limits of the law. What is more, paragraph (5) of the same article provides that the intentional illegal hindering of the media’s work shall entail criminal liability.
The signatory organizations are strongly condemning the abusive and illegal actions of the GIC employees against journalists and have highlighted that such severe violations shall not be tolerated.
According to Article 7 of the Law on the General Inspectorate of Carabineers, control over the GIC activity is exercised by the Parliament, the President of the Republic of Moldova, the Government, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, within the bounds of the authority they are vested with by law.
In connection with the above-mentioned, we call on the Minister of Internal Affairs, Pavel Voicu, by virtue of his legal authority:
to take note of the violations committed by the GIC employees;
to take all legal measures in order to ascertain and sanction the deeds committed by the law enforcers;
to make public the information on the measures taken following the notification;
to ensure proper information and training of GIC employees, in order to eradicate and prevent such practices in the future.
Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Association of Electronic Press
Center for Investigative Journalism
Press Freedom Committee
Association of Independent TV Journalists
Environment and Ecotourism Journalists’ Association