People's Advocate Mihail Cotorobai condemns the intimidating actions against the journalists Cornelia Cozonac and Mariana Colun from the Center of Investigative Journalism (CIJM) and asked the authorities to identify the perpetrators and to hold them liable in accordance with the law. People's Advocate reacted after the CIJM journalists submitted a complaint to the General Police Inspectorate on 30 December, in connection with several cases of intimidation and threats with physical harm.
President of the Center of Investigative Journalism Cornelia Cozonac received a letter by which she was intimidated and threatened with use of violence through offensive language. In another case, an envelope that contained different viruses was sent to the editorial offices of the paper from the address of the Center of Investigative Journalism. The sender signed as journalist of CIJM Mariana Colun.
"Actions of intimidation, harassment towards journalists have a deterrent effect on them and restricts freedom of media and expression. The People’s Advocate points to the crucial role of investigative journalists and independent media as a watchdog for democracy and the rule of law", reads the statement of the People’s Advocate. The People’s Advocate further emphasizes that keeping journalists safe benefit societies.
"Free and independent media is one of the cornerstones of a democratic society because the right to freedom of expression and opinion are indispensable conditions for the full implementation of the principles of transparency and accountability. No matter who the perpetrators of intimidation or threats against journalists are, these must be held liable, because impunity gives rise to new acts of violence, pressure on the media”, said the People’s Advocate.
People’s Advocate urges the authorities to protect journalists from any form of intimidation, threats or physical harm and to take effective measures to protect them from actions designed to silence them.
It is the responsibility of the states to guarantee an environment that promotes journalists' work, said Mihail Cotorobai. He reminded that the Republic of Moldova committed itself to respect media freedom and pluralism, as well as the right to Information and freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 10 ECHR and article 19 ICCPR.