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Reaction of Media NGOs to the Assault and Intimidation of BTV Cameraman

22 February 2019
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Media NGOs condemn the acts of assault and intimidation against the cameraman from BTV (a private TV channel from Balti), who was hit by a car belonging to Serghei Buzurnii – a parliamentary candidate from the Democratic Party of Moldova in the single-member constituency No 9, Mayor of Sadovoe village. 

The video published on the btv.md portal shows a Volvo XC (in his 2017 declaration of property the Mayor of Sadovoe indicated that he bought a Volvo XC car that year) hitting the cameraman of this TV broadcaster. It happened while the journalist was filming the pro-PDM electoral advertising hanging in the windows of Sadovoe Mayoralty, in violation of the Electoral Code. The cameraman was hit from behind, without any bodily injuries; after that the car left the scene. In the same material BTV journalists claim that while filming they noticed the Mayor’s car passing by several times. They regard it as ‘stalking and attempt to intimidate’.

The Mayor, on the other hand, denied the allegations.

In this context we call on the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to initiate appropriate investigation on the basis of Criminal Code, and to make its results public.

We remind that the rights of journalists in the Republic of Moldova are protected by law. Article 4 of Law on Freedom of Expression provides that the media has the duty to inform the public on matters of public interest and perform journalistic investigations of such matters in accordance with its responsibilities.

According to Article 20 of Law on Press, the State guarantees the defense of honor and dignity of a journalist and protects his or her health, life and property.

According to Article 15 of Broadcasting Code, the competent public authorities shall ensure protection of journalists in cases when the latter are subject to certain pressures or threats that could effectively prevent them from freely practicing their occupation or limit it.

At the same time, stalking of a person that causes his or her anxiety, fear for his or her own safety or safety of his or her close relatives can be subject to contravention liability as per Article 782 of the Contravention Code.

We call on the Central Electoral Commission to examine this case from the perspective of compliance with the Code of Conduct during the Electoral Campaign signed by the PDM.

Media NGOs recently launched an appeal , urging all election candidates to demonstrate respectful attitude towards journalists and media outlets and not to abuse media representatives.

Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Association of Electronic Press
Center for Investigative Journalism
Press Freedom Committee
Association of Independent TV Journalists 
‘Access-info’ Center
RISE Moldova