CSOs Get New Guide for NGO Law, as Media NGOs Denounce Intimidation of Journalists

Association

A new guide for Moldovan NGOs on the 2% Law

On 21st January 2020, the Centre for Legal Resources of Moldova (CJRM) published an updated guide for civil society organisations wishing to access funds under the so called ‘2% Law’. The new guide contains the 2% law enforcement mechanism, the procedure for registering NGOs to access financial resources through this law, the eligibility conditions and criteria, as well as guidelines on how to report on the use of these resources. The document can be found in Romanian and Russian versions on the CJRM web page.

As previously reported on the Monitor, the ‘2% Law’ grants individuals the right to direct 2% of their income tax annually to non-governmental organisations acting in the public interest and/or to religious organisations. The law was approved by Parliament in 2014, followed by government-issued regulations in 2016. On 30th December 2019, the State Tax Service published a detailed status report on the implementation of this complex financing mechanism which revealed an increase in the number of beneficiary organisations and the total amount accumulated by the beneficiary organisations.

Peaceful Assembly

A protest with restrictions

In January 2020, dozens of people protested in front of the Ialoveni Police Inspectorate and the District Prosecutor's Office demanding justice for a young man from Costesti, who was killed during a beating on 5th January 2020. Those close to the young man argued that his death was not sufficiently investigated and demanded that those guilty of the offence be brought to justice.

Journalists who covered the protest reported that protesters faced challenges attending the protest as the Costesti police stopped the circulation of public transport from Costeti to prevent protesters from attending the protest at Laloveni, a town near the country's capital.

Protest of veterans of the Transnistrian conflict

On 8th February 2020,veterans of the 1992 Transnistrian conflict, an armed conflict which erupted in the Transnistria region in 1992 triggered by Transnistrian separatist forces, organised a protest. Initially, their intention was to create a union of veterans from across the country to promote their social rights. Later however, as the protest continued, the veterans also demanded the resignation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Aureliu Ciocoi, because of a statement he made on 6th February 2020 that the Russian army intervened in the Transnistria war to stop the bloodshed. The veterans, aggravated by this statement, held banners in front of the Government building with the messages "We voted for you, you have betrayed us!", "Many of you have betrayed these people!", "Romanians no longer have brothers. You worship Moscow!”. They vowed to organise protests throughout the country on 2nd March 2020 if their demands were not met.

On the same day, the prime minister's spokesman told the press that the prime minister would not comment on the veterans' protest, but considered it their right to protest. He also noted the peaceful nature of the protest.

Expression

Attempts to intimidate journalists reported

In December 2019, the director of the Center for Journalistic Investigations of Moldova (CIJM), Cornelia Cozonac, announced through a Facebook post and later on the organisation’s web page that she had received a letter in which she was intimidated and threatened with physical violence. The person who sent the letter signed it off under the name of a journalist, Elena Băncilă.

Also, in the same period, on 18th December 2019, a letter containing DVDs with various viruses was sent to news outlets Ziarul de Garda and the Deschide.md. This time, the person who sent the letter signed it off under the name of another well-known journalist, Mariana Colun, who is the editor at CIJM.

The media NGOs issued a statement expressing concern at the intimidation of journalists and asked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to identify and punish those involved.

Their statement read in part:

“Media NGOs are asking the Ministry of Internal Affairs to identify and punish those who have acted with malicious intent, trying to intimidate journalists and cause damage to newsrooms of media institutions”.

In a separate incident, media NGOs publicly condemned an incident where the deputy mayor of Balti municipality, Nicolai Grigorișin, vilified one of the country’s media outlets. On 21st January 2020, Grigorișin, upon being requested to comment on a protest about management of the public budget by journalists from NordNews.md portal, declined to comment and instead told them that they were a toxic media institution to whom he wouldn’t say anything.