OSCE Representative calls on authorities in Moldova to allow free and unhindered work of journalists

journalists' safety
Dunja Mijatovic (OSCE)

LOS ANGELES, 23 January 2016 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed concern about reports that Russian journalists are being repeatedly denied entry into Moldova.

According to reports, on 21-22 January journalists of VGTRK, Lifenews, Channel One and REN TV television channels, as well as TASS and RIA news agencies, were denied entry into Moldova at the Chisinau airport.

Some journalists were reportedly being denied entry because they failed to state the purpose of their visit, while a VGTRK correspondent, Alexander Balitsky, has reportedly been banned from entering Moldova for five years.

“I call on the Moldovan authorities to reconsider the use of restrictive and selective measures in relation to media outlets affected by the entry ban and to allow all journalists to pursue their professional activities unhindered,” Mijatović said.

In 2015, the authorities in Moldova imposed similar restrictions on journalists from various Russian media outlets in at least seven different cases. The Representative has raised the issue with the authorities several times (see www.osce.org/pc/165276 andwww.osce.org/pc/204131). The authorities then cited the need to address the issue of propaganda among the main reasons for denying journalists to enter the country, and also noted that in most cases the journalists did not properly inform the border police about the actual purpose of their visits.

“While respecting the sovereign right of participating States to control their borders, widely-applied travel limitations of journalists negatively affects the free flow of information,” Mijatović said.  “Furthermore, using the broad and vague definition of propaganda as a justification makes this especially worrisome.”

Mijatovic also urged all members of the media to adhere to the highest professional standards, particularly when reporting on sensitive issues and in public interest.

Mijatović reiterated her call on all participating States to facilitate the travel of media workers between countries and reminded of important recommendations produced by her Office in two communiqués on the matters of denial of entry of journalists and propaganda (see www.osce.org/fom/117092 and www.osce.org/fom/117701).

Mijatović is in Los Angeles participating in an international seminar on freedom of expression.