Opposition-led protests against the government's changes to the electoral law continue

Peaceful Assembly

The extra-parliamentary opposition in the Republic of Moldova continues to protest changes to the electoral system. On 1st October 2017, another protest took place with several hundreds gathered in front of the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family. The crowd chanted anti-government slogans, such as "Down the Mafia". The protesters then gathered at the national television station – Moldova 1 - as opposition leaders claim that the public broadcaster has avoided them and does not invite them to participate in politically-oriented TV programmes.

On 10th October, a group of journalists and civil society members protested in front of the Supreme Council of Magistrates to demand full disclosure of information from court decisions. In an appeal to the Council, 70 NGOs declared that "the new rules would close off the judicial system from the public [and] decrease the trust in the justice system" (translated from Romanian). 

Expression

On 16th November 2017, the Chişinău Court of Appeals ruled that President Igor Dodon cannot apply his presidential immunity as it relates to the public interest, as in the case of journalist Contantin Grigoriţă. As previously reported, Grigoriţă decided to sue Dodon for restricting the journalist's access to press conferences organised by the presidential administration. Grigoriţă contests that the President is a high level official obligated to answer questions regardless of the person inquiring, especially if the information is of public interest.  

The third edition of the Moldovan Media Forum was organised in Chisinau from 14th to 15th November 2017. During the event, a Media Forum Resolution was issued condemning instances of the government attempting to limit media freedom. The resolution calls on the authorities to enable an environment for free and open media that benefit the whole society. 

Association

New regulations have come into force in the Republic of Moldova regarding the activity of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), namely that organisations will no longer be registered with the Ministry of Justice, but rather by a newly-established Public Services Agency. The Agency will register political parties, periodicals, press agencies, public associations, foundations, employers' unions, trade unions, mediation organisations and religious sects. The Ministry of Justice, however, retains the right to warn registered entities, if the case of any violation of or deviation from statutory provisions for NGOs. The Ministry can also notify the courts on suspending the activity or liquidation of entities if they carry out any activity that violates the law. At the time of writing, CIVICUS Monitor research partner reported that some in Moldovan civil society view the transfer of responsibilities as a potentially positive development; however, it remains uncertain as to how the new Agency will perform.