The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) ran an online campaign from 15 to 19 August 2022 on the need to amend the Contraventional Code article on slander.
Five journalists from the national and regional media have expressed solidarity in the context of the entrenched practice of using Article 70 on Slander of the Contraventional Code as a means of intimidating the media, which has been reported by media NGOs at least three times in the past two years.
Victor Moșneag, editor-in-chief of Ziarul de Gardă, Mariana Rață, host of the political talk show Cutia Neagră, Angelina Gaidarji, journalist of the Tuk.md portal from Taraclia, Mihail Sirkeli, founder of the Nokta website from Comrat, as well as Liuba Shevchuk, one of the founders of the CU SENS media project, have been writing for a week to Parliament asking that Article 70 of the Contraventional Code not be misused against the media. The journalists’ messages were circulated on social media after the IJC sent a letter to the Parliamentary Commission on Culture, Education, Research, Youth, Sport and the Media requesting that the necessary steps be taken to exclude journalists from the list of those liable under this article.
The IJC made reference to three cases. The most recent case concerns the Managing Director of Jurnal TV channel, Val Butnaru. On 26 July 2022, the journalist was fined by the court and deprived of the right to manage the establishment for six months. The contravention proceedings were initiated after a former police officer, who was featured by the TV station’s journalistic investigation, filed a complaint with the Buiucani Police Inspectorate. Also on 26 July 2022, the police issued another infringement notice under the same article of the Contraventional Code – Slander, thus following up on the request made by two other persons targeted in the Jurnal TV investigation. Another case occurred in May 2020, when Natalia Cebotari, a journalist with the newspaper ‘Znamea’ from Ceadir-Lunga, was fined by the police for the information she posted on the social media, which she obtained from her sources.
According to the IJC statement, people who disagree with the content published by the media should be able to defend their rights and legitimate interests in court through a civil lawsuit that should be conducted under the Law on Freedom of Expression.