IFJ Calls on Moldova to Respect Press Freedom after Police Storm Media Outlet

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."

For more

information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 123 countries worldwide