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Press release

People’s Advocate, Mihail Cotorobai has sent a repeated request to the General Prosecutor’s Office asking for examination of threatening and intimidating declarations of the mayor of Orhei city Ilan Sor of 20.07.2018 addressed to journalists.  Another request was transmitted to the President of the Parliament asking for adopting the package of laws on crimes based on hate and bias until the end of the current Parliament mandate.

 In July this year, the Ombudsman has reacted to the declarations of the mayor of Orhei city addressed to political opponents and journalists asking the General Prosecutor’s Office for examining the declarations of Ilan Sor and undertaking the actions which can be undertaken within the attributed competences on protection of human rights and freedoms.

 Recently the People’s Advocate was informed about the issuance by the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office, Principal Office of a refusal order for the initiation of criminal investigation in this action due to the fact that ”the actions committed by the citizen Ilan Sor on 20.07.2018 are not provided by the criminal law as an offence”.

The staff of People’s Advocate Office have analyzed the legal argumentation for the issuance of this order and they have found that the staff of the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office made reference only to the declarations with hate and violence incitement of the mayor of Orhei city for which the current national law has no clear regulations for the offences motivated by bias in compliance with the international standards of this field.

For eliminating these gaps, the Ombudsman has addressed with a request to the President of Parliament asking for examination of the package of laws on offences based on hate and bias which was voted in 2016 in the first lecture as a priority until the end of the current Parliament mandate.

The Ombudsman also has asked in a repeated request on behalf of the General Prosecutor, Eduard Harunjen to be undertaken the necessary actions for persecution and intimidation for critics of journalists, aspect totally ignored by the staff of the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office.    

In the repeated request sent to the general prosecutor, the People’s Advocate has reminded that if in case of the speech motivated by bias the national law is not perfect, than in relation to the intimidation and persecution of journalists there are legal norms which provide sanctions for offence like this, as would be the 1801 of Criminal Code. The international norms and standards which the Republic of Moldova engaged to respect were also invoked. 

Thus, in the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of CoE - CM/Rec(2016)4[1] of April 30, 2014 on protection and safety of journalists and other media actors[1], the states are called to realize their positive obligations for protecting the journalists and other media actors against any forms of attack and impunity in compliance with the European Convention for Human Rights and jurisprudence of the European Court for Human Rights.

 In the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the European Council is said:  „Attacks on, and intimidation of, journalists and other media actors inevitably have a

grave chilling effect on freedom of expression and the chilling effect is all the more piercing when the prevalence of attacks and intimidation is compounded by a culture of legalimpunity for their perpetrators. Such a culture of legal impunity is an indicator of endemic abuse of human rights”.  

Concerns on practices applied by the authorities of some UN member states ignoring the intimidation cases or threat to the address of journalists were also expressed by the UN special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye in his Report of 2016[2]. He has underlined that „impunity for threats, intimidations and attacks against journalists is inadmissible, because induces a fear referring to all the aspects related to freedom of expression”.

David Kaye also referred to the worrying statistics on the reduced number of personal liability cases for offences like these despite the legal norms in this sense in several countries.   

In the recent Resolution of the UN Council for human rights no.  39/6, of September 27, 2018, the authorities of the member states of UN, political leaders, public servants are advised to abstain from intimidations or threats to the address of mass-media, inclusively the individual journalists from improper use of laws, national policies for impeding or limiting the capacity of journalists to perform their activity. UN member states are advised to create a propitious environment for mass-media so that the journalists to be able to perform their professional attributions independently and without unjustified interventions. The states are also advised to elaborate and to put into application strategies for combating impunity for attacks, intimidation and violence against journalists[3].

In his request the People’s Advocate has reiterated the importance of taking attitude by the law enforcement in Sor case, inclusively for preventing the situations which affect human rights.

 

                                                                     Department for Human Rights Promotion

                                                              and Communication, People’s Advocate Office

Tel.: 060002656

 

 

 



[1] https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=09000016806415d9#_ftn1

[2] http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/71/373

[3] https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/296/43/PDF/G1829643.pdf?OpenElement