Criminal proceedings against Constantin Tanase are meant to intimidate critical journalists, UJM says
It is evident that the Prosecutor’s Office’s decision to start criminal proceedings against journalist Constantin Tanase was made by political order and is designed to intimidate the journalists that criticise the Communist government, the Union of Journalists of Moldova (UJM) says in a statement, quoted by Info-Prim Neo. The Prosecutor’s Office’s gesture is a challenge to the journalist Constantin Tanase and to the democratic press in general. Unlike the General Prosecutor’s Office, the democratic press is fully responsible and can make a difference between “incitement to hatred and national dismemberment” and the description of certain situations from geopolitical viewpoint. It is the Prosecutor’s Office that mars interethnic relations in Moldova in its attempt to obediently and non-professionally fulfil a political order. Owing to the benevolent and tolerant behaviour of the native population, the ethnic groups in Moldova have not witnessed turbulence and confrontation even when Russia started the occupation war in 1992, the statement says. The Union of Journalists asks the authorities to abide by the principles of the rule of law and not to resort to persecution by fabricating evidence to order. UJM undertakes the obligation to inform the relevant regional professional organisations, the European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists, of which it is a member, about the renewed intimidation of journalists. The General Prosecutor’s Office initiated criminal proceedings against the director of the newspaper “Timpul de dimineata” (“Morning Time”), Constantin Tanase, on charges of instigation to national, racial and religious hatred or dismemberment (article 346 of the Penal Code). According to prosecutors, on February 3, 2008, during the protest organised by the Union of Journalists of Moldova in the square of the National Opera House in Chisinau, Constantin Tanase and others incited to national separation and hatred and to limiting the rights of the Russians from Moldova. The journalist considers that the legal action taken by the Prosecutor General’s Office against him is a first step towards carrying out President Vladimir Voronin’s instructions to deal with political and media financing from abroad given to the Security and Information Service. According to Constantin Tanase, the authorities aim to discredit one of the most important Romanian publications in Moldova and in such a way all the independent press and the community of independent journalists of Moldova. A number of media organisations and politicians made statements in support of Constantin Tanase, condemning the Prosecutor’s Office for its actions.