The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
today called upon the government of Moldova to respect basic standards
of press freedom after police raided media premises.
"Basic standards of press freedom
and rule of law are violated when police raid media without any mandate. We
demand a proper explanation for what happened," said IFJ General Secretary
Aidan White. "Moldova
has poor a record of press freedom and this merely confirms the worst fears
that there is little hope of improvement. This is particularly worrying in the
midst of a general election campaign."
The IFJ has been told that in the morning of 25
February a group of policemen in the
capital Chi?in?u entered the headquarters of the television station
Albasat TV, a member of Euronova Media Group holding which includes TV Euronova
and the radio station Vocea Basarabiei. The only reason they gave was for the
purpose of "conducting an investigation".
The network director Efim Bârdan was threatened after
he asked the police for a warrant and to explain themselves. Police responded
by threatening to call in shock troops if access was denied and the director
was forced to open the access door. Once inside the police demanded staff hand
over documents. The accountant Mihai Pintilie, the editor and presenter Natalia
Pintilie were detained for a few hours. Police searched the newsrooms, took
computers disks and left after a few hours without further explanation.
A Ministry of Interior official later defended the
police action which he described as perfectly legal. He also revealed that the
police intervention followed a request from a member of the public.
The IFJ fully supports the protests of its member, the
Journalists' Union of Moldova, and asks for a full inquiry into the incident to
find who was responsible for this "blatant abuse of press freedom."
information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide