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Moldova10 April 2009

Authorities urged to stop violence against journalists

Reporters Without Borders is very disturbed that the Moldovan authorities have been arresting journalists and even using violence against them amid angry protests and rioting about the results of last weekend’s parliamentary elections. Both Moldovan and Romanian journalists have been affected.

“We appeal to the authorities to act with care and restraint,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They have a duty to ensure that the detained journalists are released without delay and that media are able to work freely and safely. Moreover, the stigmatisation of Romania and Romanian journalists is a dangerous strategy. Both the Moldovan authorities and foreign governments must refrain from stirring up violence, especially ethnic violence.”

The press freedom organisation added : “We appeal to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to take a firm position. The protection of journalists and civil rights is an essential part of the OSCE mandate.”

Oleg Brega, a journalist with the Internet TV station and free speech activist involved in organising peaceful demonstrations, was attacked by five men, some wearing uniforms, while filming on 8 April in Chisinau. Brega and another journalist, Vasile Costiuc, were arrested yesterday. Costiuc was released but Brega is still being held. His apartment was searched today.

The editor of the Jurnal de Chisinau newspaper, Rodica Mahu, was arrested this morning by four men in plain clothes from the Department of Special Missions who claimed she was “gathering and evaluating information in order to attack a government building.” She was freed this afternoon. Cameraman Constantin Rogodantev of the ProTV Chisinau television station was attacked last night by masked policemen who smashed his camera.

Among the many Romanian journalists to be targeted was Doru Dendiu of the Romanian public television channel TvR, who was arrested today as he was about to introduce a report live for the 1pm news programme. A crew with the Romanian TV station Realitatae was detained for several hours last night.

Interior ministry officials threatened to jail or shoot Romanian journalists Evgenia Kironaki, Mihai Valentin Buzduga and Gabriel Colac. In the end, they were deported. Peru Terguta, a journalist who is the Romanian correspondent for Romania’s Antena 3 TV station and who also works for Moldova’s TV 7, was forced to leave the country under OSCE escort after receiving phone calls announcing his imminent arrest.

Photo AFP

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