The European Court of Human Rights has communicated to the Government of Chisinau the request of the Center for Investigative Journalism against the Republic of Moldova. The request refers to the refusal of access to information owned by state authorities, in particular, from the Presidency of the Republic of Moldova, headed by Nicolae Timofti. It was about the judges rejected from promotion by the head of state and about the reasons why state distinctions are awarded to specific people. The CIJM challenged the Presidency in court for limiting the access to information, but lost all lawsuits in the Republic of Moldova. This is the first request to the ECHR on access to information against the Republic of Moldova.
The lawyer of the Center for Investigative Journalism Valeriu Pleşca, briefly reported the facts based on which a complaint was filed with the ECHR:
The Public Association "Center for Investigative Journalism" is a non-governmental media organization consisting of journalists who conduct journalistic investigations in the areas of justice, integrity, corruption, human rights, good governance.
Through two requests for access to information, the applicant association requested the Apparatus of the President of the Republic of Moldova to provide it with information of public interest.
The first request concerned documents sent by the Presidency of the Republic of Moldova (2001-2015) to the Superior Council of Magistracy, rejecting candidates for the position of judge, president or vice-president of courts and judges to be promoted to the courts of appeal.
The second request concerned the biographies and merits of the persons of the Republic of Moldova who had been decorated with state distinctions in the period 2001- 2015, be made available to it.
The provision of the information requested was refused.
In the national courts, the request for summons, submitted by the applicant association against the Apparatus of the President of the Republic of Moldova, regarding the contestation of the acts of non-provision of official information, was rejected. The judges reasoned that the communication of the requested information would have been contrary to the legal provisions that protect personal data and state secrecy.
Before the Court, the applicant association invoked the violation of art. 10 of the Convention, claiming that the refusal of the authorities to provide with the requested information constituted an illegal and disproportionate interference with freedom to receive and communicate information of public interest”.
The lawyer also provided details on the questions put by the Court to the parties:
Was there an interference with the freedom of expression of the applicant association and, in particular, with its right to receive and communicate information under Article 10 § 1 of the Convention?
If so, was this interference required by law and necessary within the meaning of Article 10 § 2 of the Convention?