Media NGOs condemn the declarations of Anatolie Cobolschi, employee of the Comrat City Hall, who threatened journalist Mihail Sirkeli with reprisal and urge law enforcement bodies to take action and hold accountable the public authority’s employee.
During the online broadcast of the 21 May edition of ‘Nokta Live’ show, Mihail Sirkeli became the target of threats by the employee of the Comrat City Hall. Anatolie Cobolschi’s inadequate behaviour was manifested by a comment published on one of the social media, in which he threatened the journalist with injury to bodily integrity. More exactly, the representative of Comrat City Hall wrote: ‘Завтра расчленю этого клоуна’ (translation from Russian: ‘Tomorrow I will dismember this clown’).
The signatory organisations express their indignation in relation to this and point out that the defiant actions of the Comrat City Hall employee contravene not only the generally accepted rules of conduct in a democratic society, but also the law in force.
Anatolie Cobolschi’s actions constitute a violation of the right to bodily integrity of the person, of his individual freedom and safety, as well as an interference with the special rights guaranteed to journalists.
We note that the threat of murder or serious injury to bodily integrity or health constitutes an act criminalized by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova. At the same time, according to the special guarantees granted to the media, the criminal law incriminates actions of intimidating journalists for criticism, the threat of violence as an aggravating circumstance that leads to the application of tougher penalties (Art. 1801 (3)(a) of the Criminal Code).
We demand that employee of Comrat City Hall make a public apology to the journalist Mihail Sirkeli and use decent language and behaviour, and that he refrain in the future from behaving in any way that is intolerant in relation to journalists and media outlets.
We ask the law enforcement bodies of the Republic of Moldova, by virtue of their legal duties, to take note of the deeds committed and to initiate the procedures provided for by law in order to hold Anatolie Cobolschi accountable.
Independent Journalism Center
‘Media Guard’ Association
Environment and Ecotourism Journalists’ Association
Association of Independent Press
Center for Investigative Journalism
Press Freedom Committee