Civil society proposes changing 16th article of the Civil Code

The representatives of the civil society propose to the Parliament to amend the Civil Code’s 16th article on defamation. This is one of the conclusions presented by the participants of the public debate entitled “Again about 16th article of the Civil Code and freedom of speech: jurists and journalists face to face”. Journalists, representatives of legal and media organizations, representatives of the Supreme Justice Court (SJC) participated in the debates. Within the debates 3 opinions on the mentioned above article were formulated, namely on setting a ceiling for moral compensation in case of defamation. A part of the participants pleaded in favor of setting a symbolical ceiling, another for “a reasonably high ceiling”, and other participants against this stipulation. Vera Macinschi, judge within SJC considers that it is not necessary to set a limit because it will undermine the principle of equality. There are a series of laws, as the law on consumer’s protection, Law on administrative disputes, the Law on royalties etc, which stipulate moral compensation, but nowhere a ceiling is included. Thus, such a stipulation is not necessary, the judge declared. Such a stipulation would undermine the national legislation, Macinschi told. The dean of the journalism and communication sciences faculty of SUM, Constantin Marin agreed with this opinion and declared that it is impossible to introduce a ceiling for an action, gravity of which is not known. In the context of defamation, the talks must not base on setting a ceiling, but on the goodwill of the judge and journalist. The journalist must ensure correctitude of its materials and the judge must not commit abuses, Marin declared. The idea of introducing a ceiling is not prodigious, Constantin Marin mentioned. At the same time, as a compromise, the quoted source proposed to introduce a ceiling equivalent to certain part of the incomes a media institution registered in the previous year. On the other hand, the ombudsman Iurie Perevoznic pleaded in favor of introducing a ceiling, which must be symbolical. The compensation will not bring moral peace to the claimant, objective solutions must be found to eliminate the consequences through denial, the quoted source mentioned. Petru Macovei, executive director of the Independent Press Association declared that a ceiling that would be reasonably high must be introduced, According to him, the lack of the ceiling is more dangerous that its existence. The executive director of the Electronic Press Association (APEL), Ion Bunduchi declared that a stipulation that would force the claimant, in case of defamation blames to prove that the press body did not write the truth must be introduced. The proposals and the conclusions presented within the debates will be submitted to the Parliament, which will examine on July 20 a draft law on amending the 16th article of the Civil Code.

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