VIENNA, 11 July 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, welcomed today’s ruling of Moldova’s Supreme Court dismissing previous court decisions on a defamation law suit against Ziarul de Gardă investigative newspaper.
“This decision sets an important precedent. Media should be free to criticize public officials for the benefit of their societies and should not risk going bankrupt due to extortionate moral damage awards paid to public officials,” said Mijatović.
Ziarul de Gardă was ordered to pay €33,000 in August last year to two Glodeni prosecutors for reporting about their alleged wrongdoings. This judgement was upheld in December by the appeals court, although the amount of damages was reduced.
“Today’s ruling provides an example of due implementation of the national Law on Freedom of Expression, which entered into force in 2010. All judges in Moldova should be guided by this precedent when applying the law and establishing a balance between media freedom and protection of reputation,” noted Mijatović.