During a training organised by the Independent Journalism Centre (IJC) on Friday, 23 September, 13 journalists learned how to claim their rights. Together with the trainer and legal advisor at IJC, Cristina Durnea, participants identified frequent legal problems that newsrooms in the Republic of Moldova face as well as solutions.
During the training, journalists discussed the procedure for exercising the right of access to information, examined the content of access to information requests, analysed restricted access information and the categories of data that the authorities are entitled not to provide, etc.
In another session, participants studied the freedom of expression of the journalist versus the rights of the protagonist. Specifically, the representatives of the 10 newsrooms learned about the conditions for restricting freedom of expression, analysed the concept of honour, dignity and professional reputation of the protagonist, as well as the differences between value judgements, factual accounts and insults. Cristina Durnea also spoke to reporters and editors about the benefit of the doubt, as well as parliamentary or presidential immunity in defamation cases. The jurist also outlined the steps a newsroom should follow when receiving pre-litigation summons.
‘Such trainings are extremely useful for journalists as they help us to become familiar with the legal framework under which we work and thus we manage to have information that allows us to hold the authorities accountable for providing us with data in accordance with the law. At the same time, thanks to this traning I learned the methods I may use to protect my right to access information of public interest and avoid being misled by representatives of the authorities through complicated legal terminology’, says Mihail Caragacean, journalist at Agora portal.
‘In recent years, pressure on journalists has become more discreet, with avalanches of lawsuits from the subjects of journalistic investigations alleging damage to honour, dignity or professional reputation. These lawsuits are time-consuming and costly. After learning during the training what to do when we receive a pre-litigation summons and that the Law on Freedom of Expression is sufficiently protective of the public interest that journalists are guided by in their work, court cases don’t seem as scary anymore’, says Felicia Cretu, reporter for the media project Cu Sens.
The journalists who attended the training represented the following newsrooms: Replica Media, Prime TV, RISE Moldova, Ziarul de Garda, Moldova.org, Radio Orhei, Cu Sens, TV8, Agora and SP from Balti.
The training was organised by the Independent Journalism Center, as part of the ‘Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova (MEDIA-M)’ project, funded by USAID and UK, and implemented by Internews in Moldova.