Journalist NGOs concerned about possible restriction of access to information in courts

Journalist non-governmental organizations of Moldova are expressing concern about some provisions in the new Regulations on public information services in courts and relations with the mass media, for such clauses may restrict journalists’ access to the activities of the judiciary.      

Several NGOs signed a joint public appeal to the Supreme Magistracy Council saying that the draft Regulations contains a number of clauses that may have a negative impact on relations between journalists and courts.   

“This will inevitably reduce the society’s trust in the judicial power branch. Courts cannot work in vacuum, particularly what concerns cases having considerable public interest”, said the document.     

The NGOs wrote that if only the Regulations is approved in its present-day shape, the new rules will considerably reduce the possibilities for mass media to receive information and will promote a selective issuing of information.   

“The press services of Moldovan courts must provide the public and the mass media – operatively and without restrictions – with data presenting broad interest”, maintained the Independent Journalism Center, Independent Press Association, Center for Journalist Investigations, Acces-Info Center, Committee for Press Freedom, Young Journalists Center of Moldova, Moldovan Journalist Union, Electronic Press Association (APEL), which signed the joint appeal.   

Dossier:   At the beginning of July, a group of experts completed the drafting of the new Regulations on courts’ public information services and relations with the mass media and put the document to public debate. Ideas and proposals on improving the draft will be accepted until August 1.    

The draft Regulations stipulates that the press services of all courts must inform the public and the mass media within the law-stipulated limits competitively and timely. Information may be provided in both oral and written form. The draft stipulates that oral information may be provided by telephone only in cases when the press service of a court has worked with a concrete media outlet for a long time and when the court is sure that information will not be distorted. 

Adapted from Infotag