The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), criticizes the recent police detention of Razvan Martin, program coordinator for the Press Monitoring Agency in Romania.
According to information before SEEMO, on 2 April 2008, Razvan Martin received a phone call from anti-globalisation protesters in Bucharest, who stated that the warehouse in which they were gathered for a workshop had been surrounded by the police and the Special Intervention Service. Martin notified the media about this development and arrived at the scene one hour later, when the police were already removing the detainees. Martin and his colleagues, who were on their way to a police station in order to secure legal assistance for the protestors, asked one of the policemen for directions. A policeman then used the car of both to take them to a different station for questioning. Martin notified the media of this from the car. He was never officially told that he was being detained, but was taken in for questioning like others in the area, and was released one and a half hours later, after announcing that he had a lawyer.
“Razvan Martin was at the scene as a Monitoring Agency coordinator and observer, and the police should have treated him as such,” stated Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General. “The fact that he was not a member of the group of protesters at the time further confirms this. Special security steps and checks were expected because of the NATO summit that started on 2 April in Bucharest. However, even in these situations, the police must respect the free movement of media representatives and organisations”.
“SEEMO deplores the fact that a member of the staff of the Media Monitoring Agency was constrained by the police, especially since he did not take part in the protest, but was merely an onlooker. All individuals have the right to express their opinions in a peaceful way, and the government must support this right, not interfere with it,” Vujovic added.