Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Moldova29 May 2008

Concern about government harassment of independent news media

Reporters Without Borders is worried about repeated harassment of journalists and news media in the past two months by the Moldovan authorities. The biweekly Moldavskie Vedomosti is threatened with closure by an investigation into alleged corruption while the body that allocates broadcast frequencies has been accused of favouring pro-government radio and TV stations.

“With just one year to go to parliamentary elections, it is vital that Moldova’s journalists should have a better environment in which to work,” the press freedom organisation said.

The Moldovan public prosecutor’s office last month opened an investigation into allegations that Moldavskie Vedomosti overcharged a company called Soroca Stone Quarry for advertising. The newspaper has been accused of “misappropriating the property of others in very large amounts.” Anti-corruption investigators have carried out several inspections of the newspaper’s financial records at its headquarters.

Moldavskie Vedomosti editor Dmitri Ciubasenco said he was convinced that “the public prosecutor’s investigation is political” and that it was designed to put pressure on the newspaper and lead to its bankruptcy. He insisted that the contracts he signed were legal and that the payments that were made respected the contracts.

Several Moldovan NGOs said the case was suspicious because Ciubasenco was not notified that criminal proceedings had been opened and was not asked to make a statement at the public prosecutor’s office. In their view, the investigation is just one more stage in a government strategy to reduce the opposition media to silence ahead of next year’s elections.

A number of NGOs and news media issued a joint statement criticising the way the Broadcasting Coordinating Council allocated radio and TV frequencies during a two-day session on 7 and 8 May. “The decisions of Moldova’s Broadcasting Coordinating Council are favouring media concentration by assigning frequencies above all to pro-government radio and TV stations,” the statement said.

Vocea Basarabiei, a radio station that has been trying with little success for years to obtain new frequencies in order to expand its coverage, said the Broadcasting Coordinating Council was “distributing frequencies according to political criteria.” The station has obtained only eight of the 120 frequencies it has requested in the past eight years.

An independent station affiliated to Radio Free Europe, the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio Romania Actualitati, Vocea Basarabiei broadcasts news programmes covering regional, national and international developments as well as entertainment, current affairs and discussion programmes.

A member of the Moldovan parliament, Anatol Taranu said at a news conference: “During its public sessions, the members of the Broadcasting Coordinating Council vote on decisions that have been decided in advance. It is clear that there is constant political interference.”




  In this country
10 April - Moldova
Authorities urged to stop violence against journalists
8 April - Moldova
In “unfair and dangerous” move, Moldova denies entry to 18 Romanian journalists
6 March - Moldova
Privately-owned TV station being harassed in run-up to parliamentary elections
2 May - Moldova
Court freezes newspaper’s accounts in connection with libel action
4 April - Russia / Moldova
Appeal court upholds Moldovan youth’s acquittal of murdering journalist in Moscow

in the annual report
Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

Reports
5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison
archives

Sign the petitions
Uzbekistan
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives