Row over press accreditation to the Justice Ministry after minister withdraws credentials of two TV reporters

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Justice Ministry has been at the center of a scandal on Friday after two TV journalists announced the institution had withdrawn their press accreditation in 2019.

The Justice Ministry argued the two TV channels had not complied with the accreditation clauses.

Ovidiu Oanţă,  Pro TV reporter, has announced on his Facebook account that the Justice Ministry turned down his accreditation request, without providing further details. The ministry has also denied press credentials for Realitatea TV reporter Ionela Arcanu. „I’ve been banned from the Justice Ministry”, Arcanu posted on Facebook.

Although he initially said that the press credentials for the two reporters had been withdrawn for they had broken „the conduct rules”, Justice minister Tudorel Toader has eventually made up his mind, saying he reversed his decision upon prime minister Dancila’s request, but only in the case of Ovidiu Oanţă. Press credentials remain off for Ionela Arcanu.

The premier asked me to give the accreditation back for Oanţă,” minister Toader told Hotnews.

Asked if he is going to accept accreditation also for the Realitatea TV reporter, Toader said „I will, if she understands to respect the conduct rules”.

The ministry’s denial was grounded through article 18, paragraph 3 in the law 544/2001 on the free access to public information. „Authorities can refuse to give the press accreditation or can withdraw a journalists’ credentials only for deeds that prevent the normal activity of the public authority and that do not concern the opinions expressed by the journalist in the media”.

Toader claimed  the two journalists have not complied with the conduct rules.

In the accreditation papers for the ministry there is a clause saying <I commit to follow the conduct rules>. I have repeatedly called on journalists to follow that clause!”, Toader said on Facebook.

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