Media NGOs condemn Liberal leader’s attempts to pressurize media

A number of media public organizations of Moldova issued a public statement, condemning the position of the Liberal Party head Mihai Ghimpu, who asked introducing criminal punishment for journalists, IPN reports.

After the April 4 sitting of Parliament, the Liberal leader accused a TV channel of slander and of fighting against the party that he heads. Mihai Ghimpu accused the journalists of not being equidistant and said he will ask reintroducing criminal punishment for the media outlets that go beyond limits. The media NGOs describe the official’s statements as inadmissible in a state with the rule of law and as an attempt to intimidate and exert pressure on the journalists, which can lead to the limitation of the freedom of expression in Moldova.

The signatories consider that by such statements, the Liberal leader makes clear that one of the political parties must be outside criticism as it is intangible. But this is a Soviet-type approach to the relations between the media and the power. The NGOs consider that these statements run counter to the Law on the Freedom of Expression and to the Liberal Party’s initiative concerning the criminal punishment for persons who persecute the journalists, for censorship and prevention of broadcasting, which was recently adopted by Parliament in the second reading.

The statement was signed by the Independent Journalism Center, the Association of Independent Press, the Journalistic Investigations Center, the Center “Acces-Info”, the Committee for the Freedom of the Press, the Young Journalist’s Center, the Journalists Union of Moldova, and the Electronic Press Association APEL.

Earlier this year, the Liberal leader made similar accusations, saying the journalists are ‘bought’. This fact aroused the dissatisfaction of the media and NGOs, which asked that Mihai Ghimpu should apologize publicly for the attacks on the mass media.