Journalists are discouraged from doing their job in Transnistrian region, expert

Representatives of Promo-LEX Association say that starting with 1992 until present, all kinds of incidents have been witnessed in the Security Zone. It is regrettable that these incidents continue and no one learns the lesson. Experts give the example of journalists who go to the Security Zone to collect facts about social problems faced by locals and meet with intimidation on the part of peacekeepers. According to them, such cases discourage the journalists from fulfilling their duties.

In a news conference at IPN, journalist Andrei Captarenco said that since last April, he and his mate have tried to obtain accreditation from the Transnistrian side, but failed. The Transnistrian administration argued they cannot ensure their security. They make films about the people who live there and who are daily confronted by armed military men. On February 9, when they were returning from the farmland owned by a local woman, they were stopped at a checkpoint owing to the on-board video camera. The military men asked that the videos should be erased, without making reference to any legal act, saying this is not allowed. The journalists called the police and notified representatives of the Joint Control Commission, but they were ultimately advised to delete the images.

Journalist Viorica Tataru said there are no clear rules. Everything depends on the moods of the person from the checkpoint on that day and this is bothersome. You never know what can happen.

Vadim Vieru, director of the Human Rights Program of Promo-LEX Association, said that no reaction followed from the constitutional authorities and international organizations after this case. “The journalists are the fourth power in the state and a serious attitude to the freedom of expression is needed when journalists go to the Security Zone to collect facts about social problems. They should enjoy particular guarantees and protection that are ensured by the Constitution and enforced by the law,” noted Vadim Vieru.

According to him, what happened generates questions as to the status of the peacekeeping mission whose term is not definite. It continues to work even if a long period of time has passed since the conflict. The lack of reaction on the part of the authorities and international organizations is regrettable as this leads to impunity and such cases can multiply.

The news conference forms part of the series of conferences held in the framework of IPN’s project “Exposing Injustice through Multimedia”. IPN Agency does not assume the right to decide if the organizers of news conferences are right in the cases about which they will speak as this is the exclusive prerogative of justice, but the exaggeratedly long examination period of these cases, which is much longer than the law allows, can be considered an act of evident unfairness and injustice. IPN News Agency does not bear responsibility for the public statements made in the public sphere by the organizers of news conferences.

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