Attacks on journalists in Moldova continue to be frequent. These include physical attacks and direct threats to the life, freedom and health of media representatives, or cyberattacks, or attacks with the use of legal or economic pressure. The findings are contained in a study presented by the Independent Press Association (API). In 2021, at least 68 attacks on the media were signaled, but the authors of the report believe that their number is much higher, because not all journalists report these cases, partly because they think they are part of their job.
Petru Macovei, executive director of the Independent Press Association, told a press conference that API has been working on such reports for three years already. In 2021, until July when early parliamentary elections were held, there were quite a few attacks on the media by politicians.
“Moldovan journalists were frequently exposed to online harassment attacks last year, and real character assassination campaigns were launched against some of them. They took place online and were certainly directed from certain command points of some political or non-political persons or groups”, noted Petru Macovei.
According to him, harassment and cyberattacks intensified in 2022, especially in the context of the protests that have been taking place in the country for several months. “Journalists are the ones who cover these protests, and some reports are not to the liking of the politicians who organize these protests. Staff from their support groups are attacking journalists online, with death threats being disseminated”, the API director said.
“Seven cases included physical attacks against media representatives in 2021. Four of them were committed before the early parliamentary elections by members of the Socialist Party and by officers of the Protection and State Guard Service”, said Petru Macovei.
In 2021, the number of attacks on journalists and media organizations through legal and economic instruments increased and this trend continues in 2022. The most common method were lawsuits alleging defamation or invasion of privacy.
The report was produced in partnership with the London-based Justice for Journalists Foundation.