Strong reactions related to reincriminating insult and libel came from over 35 NGOs from all over the world. They sent an open letter demanding Romanian authorities not to incriminate insult and libel; the document is addressed to Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister, Valeriu Zgonea, President Deputy Chamber, and to Crin Antonescu, Senate’s President.
Among the organizations that signed the letter are Reporters Sans Frontieres, Freedom House, ActiveWatch, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.
“We express our deepest concern over the reincrimination of insult and libel by Romanian Parliament, as part of an extensive action to modify Romanian Penal code. (…) Incriminating insult and libel represents a serious attack over this right, intimidating the ones that voice critics over power structures in the society, exposing abuse, corruption and illegalities”, the letter says.
The letter also mentions that “there is still the option for this modifications not to produce effects, if the President refuses to promulgate them”, reason why the ones that signed the letter demand Traian Basescu “to respect his promise to reject the modifications brought to the Penal Code”
OSCE also expressed, through the voice of Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE representative for media liberty, its concerns over the intention to reincriminate insult and libel, appreciating that “the fear of criminal accusations could lead to self-censorship and, eventually, could have an unwanted effect over investigative journalism”.
OSCE’s representative said that Romania made “an important step” in 2006, when it discriminated insult and libel. “I hope those amendments won’t be final and I appeal to competent authorities in Romania to reject them, as they represent a serios regres for media liberty in Romania”, Dunja Mijatović stated.
Translation provided by AdHuggerCarmen Maria Andronache carmenpaginademedia.ro