14 July 1996


"Telegraf" editor and reporter convicted for libel

On 11 July 1996, journalists Radu Mazare and Constantin Cumpana
were sentenced to seven months in prison, and a 25 million lei
fine for libel. Mazare, the editor, and Cumpana, a reporter at the
daily newspaper "Telegraf" in Constanta, were charged with libel
in connection with a 1992 article in the newspaper about
corruption in the Constanta city council. The former deputy mayor
of the council, Dan Miron, was forced to step down two months
after the article appeared. Revi Moga, another figure named in the
article, a former legal counsel for the city council, charged the
journalists with libel in April 1994. (She is now a judge in a
local Constanta court.)

After receiving a guilty verdict in a local court in October 1994,
the journalists appealed to the District Court in November 1995,
but their appeal was rejected. In April 1996, the General
Prosecutor of Romania, Manea Dragulin, contested the guilty
verdict on behalf of the journalists and the case was heard at the
Supreme Court of Romania this month. On 11 July, the journalists'
appeal was rejected again and the two were sentenced.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • expressing concern at this libel verdict as an assault on press
    freedom in Romania
  • condemning the use of criminal libel, especially seditious libel,
    because such laws are used exclusively to silent dissent against
    government officials and shield such officials from scrutiny in
    the press
  • respectfully urging that they see to it that the conviction of
    Mazare and Cumpana is reversed and all charges against them are
    dropped immediately

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Ion Iliescu
    President of Romania
    Office of the President
    Piata Victoriei 49-53
    Bucharest, Romania
    Fax: +401 312 1179

    Mr. Iosif Chiuzbaian
    Minister of Justice of Romania
    Bucharest, Romania

    Please copy appeals to the originator if possible.

  • Source

    Committee to Protect Journalists
    330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10001
    info (@) cpj.org
    Fax:+1 212 465 9568
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