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Press in Transnistrian region is not free
Press in Transnistrian region is not free
In connection with World Press Freedom Day, IPN discussed the situation of the mass media in the Transnistrian region with Pavel Cazacu, jurist of Promo-LEX Association that monitors the observance of human rights in Transnistria. According to the jurist, the press in the Transnistrian region can hardly be named functional and veritable. The findings of Promo-LEX and of other international organizations concerning the freedom of the press in Transnistria can be found in the interview below.
-- World Press Freedom Day was celebrated on May 3. They discussed intensely the freedom of the press in the world and in Moldova, but insufficiently or even not at all in the Transnistrian region. Mister Cazacu, what is the situation of the media now in the region?
-- Promo-LEX does titanic work to monitor and protect human rights in the region at a time when we haven’t had effective access to this territory for over three years. This hampers our work, but does not make it impossible. Our findings remain objective indicators of the situation in the region. Despite presupposed progress in the negotiation process, the situation of human rights in the region regrettably does not change, including as regards the freedom of the press.
-- What are the biggest identified problems?
-- The problems identified by us and confirmed by other international organizations refer to the permanent pressure exerted by the Transnistrian administration. In the recent past, we identified concrete cases when either the mass media or their representatives suffered as a result of the activity they perform. Usually, the pressure included the starting of purported criminal cases and punishment of inconvenient persons, while the cases covered and reported the previous years didn’t have an end result.
The first situation in 2017 refers to the activity of the editor of the newspaper “Truth of Transnistria”. This was fined €72 for calumny after relating the Parcani accident that involved the relative of a local official. The editor was accused of disseminating information that defamed the so-called minster of the interior Ruslan Mova, harming his honor and dignity.
A much more difficult case is the sentencing to five years in jail of the producer of the film “Sheriff: Illusion of Lie”. The film was made at the end of 2016 and raises a very sensitive issue: the criminal cases started by local bodies over the murders committed at the start of the 1990s. This case also didn’t have an end result.
-- Do these problems affect only the press in the region?
-- Regrettably, these arbitrary actions by the Transnistrian administrant affect also the press on the right side of the Nistru. Such news portals as deschide.md, ava.md and newsmaker.md cannot be accessed by people from the Transnistrian region. After this problem was raised by the media and the created situation was intensely discussed, the so-called leader of Transnistria Vadim Krasnoselski admitted that this is a vicious practice and requested the so-called minister of security of the region to refrain from such actions.
-- What are the predictions of Promo-LEX concerning the situation of the press in the region?
-- The freedom of expression is one of the fundamental elements of a democratic society. If there is no free press, there is no democracy, progress and development. The information provided by the free and responsible media enables to know the real situation and to appropriately react to cases that concern us.
The Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova is described by Freedom House as a territory that is not free and that has a very low score as regards the functioning of the political rights and civil liberties. Thus, taking into account the high level of impunity and the lack of effective mechanisms for monitoring and protecting human rights in the region, there is no guarantee that these arbitrary measures will not be taken again against the inconvenient press.
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