July 23, 2002


Vienna, 23 July 2002

The Vienna South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns several threats in the past weeks against journalist and attacks on media in Romania.

In Vrancea County in eastern Romania, local authorities have illegally destroyed over 20 newspaper kiosks belonging to the Ziarul de Vrancea daily, which is critical reporting about activities of local politicians in power.

In one case a local politician, who is also local head of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD), threatened during a press conference journalists responsible for articles alleging local corruption. The politician banned journalist Alin Ion, a correspondent for the Bucharest daily Evenimentul Zilei to attend a press conference and during this press conference the politician said about the journalist, who was limping at the time, “He’d better not make me cripple his other leg.” The politician has been targeted by journalists in recent years for his alleged involvement in criminal activities. Among other things, it has been reported he has illegally redirected European Union funds to support his private businesses.

In the second case also a journalist working for Evenimentul Zilei has been threatened. Local journalist Dan Ielciu has received a number of death threats by telephone.