Independent journalist gets anonymous death threats

New York, July 17, 2000–The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply disturbed by the death threats made by unknown persons against independent Moldovan journalist, Andrei Turcanu.

According to CPJ sources, Turcanu began receiving calls threatening him and his family with “extermination” after he published an article on June 30 reporting on possible corruption in the privatization of the state tobacco industry.

The piece ran in the Chisinau weekly Messagerul to which the freelance journalist is a regular contributor. He also writes for the Chisinau-based daily Flux and the weeklies Zhara, Jurnal de Chisinau, and Septemyna. Messagerul supports the opposition movement, the Party of Democratic Forces, and Turcanu’s piece explored the possible misappropriation of funds by some Communist members as the state-owned tobacco industry moves into private hands.

Turcanu filed a complaint with the city of Chisinau prosecutor’s office, and he asked for security guarantees for him and his family. His complaint was forwarded to the Chisinau Police Department; he was told the police would determine if he had a case.

An independent freelance journalist, Turcanu is known for his investigative reporting on corruption at high-level government agencies, including within parliament, the president’s office, and the cabinet of ministers. He told CPJ he has written many stories critical of government officials in the past, but never before received death threats.

“We take these threats extremely seriously,” said Ann K. Cooper, CPJ’s executive director. “We urge the prosecutor’s office to provide protection for Turcanu and his family and to fully investigate these threats to the full extent of the law.”