Media non-governmental organizations condemn the attempt by the mayor of Costești village Vasile Borta to obstruct journalists’ access to the draft decisions of the village council and call on the local elected official to respect the obligations arising from the legislation regarding transparency in the decision-making process.
For a week, the efforts of Ialoveni Online portal reporters to obtain the draft decisions on the agenda of the local council meeting on June 30th were undermined by the local administration of Costești. Although, according to the law, the relevant documents were supposed to be made public well in advance of the meeting, the council’s secretary informed the journalists about the “mayor’s instruction not to send them the documents.” The local elected official Vasile Borta had an even more categorical response (Mayor: “Madam, I’m not giving you any instructions, any decisions. Do we understand me?” Journalist: “Why?” Mayor: “That’s what I said! I don’t know what you’re after.” Journalist: “We’re aiming to inform the residents, sir. Informing the residents about the draft decisions to be voted on.” Mayor: “Did you understand me? I said not to give you anything. And that ends the discussion.”)
We bring to the attention of Costești Mayor that the Law on Local Public Administration and the Law on Transparency in the Decision-Making Process expressly provide both the right of citizens and interested parties to have access to the draft decisions of the local council and the municipality, as well as the imperative obligation of authorities to ensure access to this information.
The signing organizations emphasize the inadmissibility of tolerating the mayor’s actions to hinder the press’s access to public interest information and signal that such approaches are one of the factors that hinder the growth of responsibility, trust, and performance in the public sector.
The signing NGOs condemn the Mayor’s actions of unjustified and abusive restriction of journalists’ access to public interest information and urge him to abandon practices that undermine the mechanism of exercising control over the activities of public authorities.
Independent Journalism Center
Environment and Ecotourism Journalists’ Association
Media Guard Association
Association of Electronic Press
Association of Independent Press
Center for Investigative Journalism
Press Freedom Committee
 Article 17 paragraph (3) letter b) of the Law on Local Public Administration: ‘Citizens, associations constituted in accordance with the law, and other interested parties have the right (…) to have access (…) to draft decisions and the agenda of local council and municipality meetings’;
Article 101 paragraph (2) of the Law on Local Public Administration: ‘Drafts of normative acts of local public administration authorities shall be made public for consultation at least 15 working days before the day of approving the act. The adoption of acts under emergency regime shall be carried out in accordance with Law no. 239-XVI of November 13, 2008, on transparency in the decision-making process’;
  Article 6 of the Law on Transparency in the Decision-Making Process: ‘Citizens, associations constituted in accordance with the law, and other interested parties have the right: a) to participate, under the conditions of this law, in any stage of the decision-making process; b) to request and obtain information regarding the decision-making process, including receiving draft decisions accompanied by relevant materials, under the conditions of the Law on access to information’;
Article 10 of the Law on Transparency in the Decision-Making Process: ‘The public authority ensures access to draft decisions and the materials related to them through their mandatory publication on the official website of the public authority, by providing access at the authority’s premises, as well as by mail or other available means, upon request of the interested person. The draft decision and its related materials shall be placed on the official website of the responsible public authority for at least the period of receiving and examining recommendations’.