Media NGOs repeatedly condemn the intimidating discourse used by the mayor of Chisinau, Ion Ceban, who launched attacks on investigative journalists and used administrative resources to undermine press freedom.
During the weekly meeting of the Chișinău City Hall on 18 December, the mayor once again dedicated a part of his speech to investigative journalists. He declared that City Hall employees had been intimidated with cameras to reveal who they voted for in the election, labelling journalists as “political killers, hired for huge money of suspicious origin”.
This is not the first instance of such misconduct by Ion Ceban. He has previously intimidated the press during the City Hall’s weekly sessions.
In addition, in a letter sent by the National Alternative Movement Party (MAN) to several diplomatic missions and international organizations in Moldova, TV8 was accused of intimidating party members and supporters at their workplaces by inquiring about the amounts donated to the party’s budget. “We believe that TV8 has chosen to check donations to the MAN party in order to discourage active involvement by our members and supporters,” the letter said.
We strongly condemn Ion Ceban’s inappropriate behavior, unsuitable for a person holding a public office. We repeatedly and insistently request that the mayor refrains from intimidating journalists who are trying to report information of public interest.
We remind everyone that the Law on Freedom of Expression expressly provides that everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart facts and ideas. Media also has the duty to inform the audience on matters of public interest and perform journalistic investigations of such matters in accordance with its responsibilities.
We urge Mayor Ion Ceban to adopt a dignified and appropriate language, avoiding any form of intolerance towards journalists and media outlets.
Independent Journalism Center
Association of Independent Press
Press Freedom Committee
Center for Investigative Journalism
Association of Electronic Press
Environment and Ecotourism Journalists’ Association
Media Guard Association