CHISINAU, 23 April 2007 - Twenty Moldovan judges are taking part in an OSCE-organized seminar on libel and defamation cases that began in Chisinau today.
The two-day event brought together judges from the Chisinau district courts and courts of appeal which handle most of the cases on defamation. It was organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova, the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in co-operation with the Superior Council of Magistracy and the National Institute of Justice.
"Moldova is among the countries which have decriminalized libel, defamation and insult, in line with European standards," said Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, in a message sent to participants.
"This seminar could help civil courts find the right balance between protecting free speech and human dignity."
Ambassador Louis O'Neill, the Head of the OSCE Mission, who spoke at the opening, added: "The goal of the seminar is to offer judges a better understanding of how to interpret the libel stipulations of the Moldovan Civil Code in concordance with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights."
International and local experts will share their experience from defamation and freedom of expression cases brought to the European Court for Human Rights.
Moldova decriminalized libel in 2005. It amended Article 16 of the country's Civil Code on defamation and introduced a series of criteria to be taken into account when establishing the amount of financial compensation for moral damages. The responsibility for granting financial compensation for moral damages and of establishing the appropriate amount remains with the judges.