Ten of the most prestigious organizations that fight for the rights of journalists globally, together with their partners in Romania, today sent a call to the Romanian authorities asking them to give priority to the criminal investigations opened a year ago in the kompromat case directed against journalist Emilia Sercan and to devote sufficient resources to them so that the perpetrators are quickly identified and brought to justice.
At the same time, the organizations call on the PNL to “immediately condemn” my latest campaign to discredit me, launched at the end of last year, after I wrote that Interior Minister Lucian Bode’s PhD thesis is plagiarized.
Emilia Sercan says that the open letter – addressed to the authorities and politicians in Romania, but also to the European institutions – “represents a gesture of support and solidarity that she receives one year after the kompromat operation and after, more recently, an advertising agency, which has contracts with PNL paid for the distribution of derogatory articles against her on Facebook, and the PNL trained its members to attack her in public interventions.” The new attacks came right after Sercan reported about Bode’s plagiarized thesis.
Media organizations are also calling on judicial authorities to merge criminal files opened after the kompromat operation a year ago to increase the effectiveness of the investigation and say they have not credibly responded to concerns about the lack of progress in the investigation. In the public appeal, it is shown that the kompromat operation was launched last year after Sercan also reported that Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă had plagiarized in his doctoral thesis, and that the new attacks appeared after she wrote that the former Minister of Education Sorin Cîmpeanu and the minister current Minister of Internal Affairs Lucian Bode, member and, respectively, general secretary of the PNL, have plagiarized.
“This renewed harassment of Șercan is unacceptable and, given the prominent players apparently involved in its coordination, has a chilling effect beyond the case at hand. Accordingly, the undersigned organisations call on the leadership and members of the PNL to immediately condemn the smear campaign and to issue clear instructions not to discredit Șercan any further.
Meanwhile, we also call on the EU institutions to continue to follow the case closely and to consider its implications for media freedom and the rule of law in Romania in relevant regional-level processes. Specifically, the European Commission’s 2022 Rule of Law report considers intimidation of journalists as a press freedom concern in Romania. Considering no progress appears to have been achieved in the investigations, and in light of the new smear campaign against her, we call on the European Commission to ensure that this is reflected in the forthcoming publication of the 2023 Rule of Law report chapter on Romania, as it is testament to the lack of adequate commitment to press freedom by Romanian public officials.
We call on the authorities and politicians to show they respect Romania’s European commitments and obligations to press freedom by effectively prosecuting the harassment of Emilia Șercan and condemning any politically-sponsored smear campaign,” says the open letter signed by the following NGOs: ActiveWatch, ARTICLE 19 Europe, Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited, International Press Institute (IPI), OBC Transeuropa (OBCT) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).