ROMANIA: Investigative reporter for the daily

ROMANIA, 14/08/2002

To:

Adrian Nastase
Prime Minister of Romania  
Bucharest, Romania  

Your Excellency,

According to the information before SEEMO, Iosif Bebe Costinas, an investigative reporter for the daily "Timisoara", has been missing since 7 June. On 22 June, the authorities were informed about the disappearance of Costinas. The police launched an extensive search, but their efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

Costinas has published articles on sensitive subjects, including unsolved killings during the December 1989 anti-communist revolt in Romania and the continued presence in high positions of officers of the former "Securitate" secret police. Furthermore, Costinas was writing a book about illegal business activities in Timisoara.

SEEMO and IPI are also concerned about the intimidation of a journalist who wrote critical reports about members of the ruling Social Democratic Party in Romania. Silvia Vrinceanu Nichita, correspondent for the opposition daily newspaper "Evenimentul zilei", became a target of intimidation after she published articles alleging possible corruption among members of the Social Democratic Party's local leaders in the town of Focsani (see IFEX alert of 12 August 2002). In an apparent attempt to smear her reputation, the private television station, OTV, broadcast an almost eight-year old video recording showing Vrinceanu, scantily dressed, as she was dancing and singing during a private New Year's party.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic
SEEMO Secretary General

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