Media NGOs condemn the attempts of Comrat authorities to undermine press freedom in Gagauzia

Media NGOs vehemently condemn the attempts of the Executive Committee of the Gagauzia Autonomous Region to hinder the professional activity of journalists by establishing arbitrary and abusive mechanisms to condition the activity of the online media through an approval from the local authorities. The signatory NGOs demand the immediate withdrawal of the legislative initiative, which flagrantly contravenes the Moldovan Constitution and the international treaties to which Moldova is a party.

On February 22, the general public had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a legislative initiative of the Gagauzia authorities. It happened in the context of public consultations – announced the day before the actual meeting – in which the members of the People’s Assembly participated, but also some members of the Executive Committee from Comtrat. The legislative initiative was approved by the regional executive body on January 4 and involves a series of interventions on the functioning mechanisms of the public audiovisual media services provider Gagauziya Radio Televizionu (GRT), as well as the creation of an authorization mechanism for online media from Gagauzia.

The constitutional norms (art. 111) expressly provide that on the territory of the autonomous region all the rights and freedoms provided by the Constitution and legislation of Moldova are guaranteed. Gagauzia can be administered based on the normative acts of the People’s Assembly only if they do not contravene the Constitution and Moldovan legislation (art. 2). We remind you that the legislation in force in Moldova does not provide for the authorization of online media.

We emphasize that the establishment of conditions, such as obtaining a permissive act from the local authorities, for the online media to be able to provide information to the public constitutes a violation of the constitutional right to free expression.

The signatory NGOs condemn the attempts of the authorities in Gagauzia to undermine the freedom of the press and ask them to immediately withdraw the legislative initiative that flagrantly contravenes the Constitution and the international treaties to which Moldova is a party.

  • Independent Journalism Center
  • “Access-info” center
  • Association of Electronic Press
  • Association of Independent Press
  • RISE Moldova
  • Center for Journalistic Investigations
  • Association of Environmental Journalists and Ecological Tourism
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