The International Press Institute (IPI) today joins the undersigned media freedom and journalist groups in expressing dismay at the decision of Romania’s Prosecutor Office at the Bucharest Court of Appeal to close the investigation into the smear campaign against journalist Emilia Șercan.
To do so, the Prosecutor made the extraordinary ruling that ‘the offences’ – including the publication of stolen private photos and the presumed disclosure of evidence held by the police – ‘were not provided for by the criminal law’.
This decision comes twenty months after Șercan first filed a complaint to the police about stolen personal photos posted on adult sites in February 2022. Within hours of filing the complaint, evidence provided by Șercan to the police was then posted on a Moldovan media web-site strongly suggesting that someone within the police had leaked the information.
On 26 October, in anticipation of the probable closure of the investigation, media freedom groups appealed to the Prosecutor General, Alex Florin Florența, demanding the investigation be kept open and transferred to a new team supervised by himself.
The letter noted the litany of failures and clear breaches of procedure in the original investigation, that suggest a deliberate attempt to scupper the investigation and to protect the perpetrators of the crime.
The smear campaign against Emilia Șercan began after she published, in January 2022, revelations that Nicolae Ciucă, President of the Romanian Senate who was at the time Prime Minister, had plagiarized his doctoral dissertation.
This decision fails both Emilia Șercan and all Romanian journalists who seek to hold political power to account.
We support Emilia Șercan’s search for justice and back her appeal to overturn this unjust decision.
- International Press Institute (IPI)
- Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
- European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
- Free Press Unlimited
- OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)
- Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
- The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
This statement was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States, Candidate Countries, and Ukraine. The project is co-funded by the European Commission.