A number of media nongovernmental organizations expressed their concern about the actions taken by the People’s Assembly of ATU Gagauzia, which undermine the freedom of the media, and asked that measures should be taken to hold accountable the Assembly’s deputies who hinder the journalists from fulfilling their duties, IPN reports.
A statement signed by the Independent Journalism Center, the Media Guard Association, the Electronic Press Association, the Association of Independent Press, “Acces-Info” Center and RISE Moldova says that on July 5, the journalist of the portal Nokta Slava Radulov became the target of insults and other aggressive forms of behavior on the part of members of People’s Assembly of ATU Gagauzia. He was forced to leave the public meeting of the Assembly by using physical constraints.
“Under the law, Gagauzia is managed in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, other laws of the state and normative documents of the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia, which do not run counter to the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Moldova. We warn the deputies of the People’s Assembly of ATU Gagauzia that Article 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova guarantees the right to freedom of thought, opinion and of expression in public by any possible means to any citizen. Article 111 of the Supreme Law provides that all the rights and freedoms stipulated by the Constitution and the legislation of the Republic of Moldova are guaranteed on the territory of ATU Gagauzia. Also, under the law on the freedom of expression, the state guarantees the freedom of expression of the media and no one can ban or hinder the press from disseminating information, if only in the conditions stipulated by law,” runs the statement.
In the same connection, the media NGOs remind that under the Regulations of Gagauzia, the plenary sessions of the People’s Assembly of ATU Gagauzia are open. Any interested person can attend a meeting of the People’s Assembly, except for cases stipulated by law. They note that the physical constraining of the Nokta journalist is a violation of the right to integrity of the person, personal freedom and safety and of the special rights of journalists and is punished in accordance with the Penal Code of the Republic of Moldova.
The NGOs call on the deputies of the People’s Assembly to behave appropriately and to use appropriate language, refraining in the future from showing any forms of intolerance for journalists and media outlets. They also ask the law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova to hold accountable the persons who, defying the principle of transparency in the decision-making process and the freedom of the media, resort to violent actionist that are unacceptable in a democratic society.