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July 3, 2022

ActiveWatch asks Parliament to control SRI’s activity within Romanian press

Cotidianul.ro published on Tuesday a series of documents that show that the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) infiltrated its agents in the press. As a result, two organizations have asked Parliament to intervene. “Cotidinaul.ro published today (Tuesday – editor’s note) a series of official SRI documents. In case the documents are genuine, they prove the existence of political police actions done by Romanian intelligence services,” an open letter signed by the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism (CRJI) and ActiveWatch reads. ActiveWatch (Press Monitoring Agency) and CRJI firmly condemn the actions that severely threaten freedom of the press and ask SRI and the other intelligence services to immediately stop any political police activities within the mass media and in the area of social activism and to respect the journalists’ editorial independence. Thus, ActiveWatch and CRJI are asking Parliament to rapidly investigate the authenticity of the documents published by cotidianul.ro, to ask SRI for a statement on the authenticity of the actions, to ask the intelligence services for data concerning the number of agents/informers infiltrated in editorial offices (journalists, auxiliary personnel, management), to make the results of the investigation public and to exercise its role of controlling the activity of intelligence services in the sense of protecting the Romanian citizens’ right s and of respecting the Constitution. At the same time, the signatory organizations call on the leadership and employees of these services to remain faithful to the mandate of the institutions they are working for and not to obey political interventions that jeopardize the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

SRI admits documents are genuine

In reaction to the disclosure,’ SRI issued a press communiqué yesterday in which it shows that “the aspects publicly presented represent unauthorized, altered copies of fragments from internal documents, being the result of actions ordered by persons from SRI’s former leadership, persons responsible with protecting the institution.” SRI pointed out that there was a leak of classified documents for which a former employee has been sentenced.

Agent infiltrated at ‘Jurnalul National’

According to a press communiqué, Intact Media Group has taken note with concern of the operative actions that SRI conducted within the editorial office of the ‘Jurnalul National’ daily. The conclusive public evidence shows that SRI subjected the editorial office of ‘Jurnalul National’ to constant surveillance in recent years, surveillance ordered directly by the leadership of SRI and conducted through missions in which intelligence officers took part, missions supported by one of the daily’s leading members. The communiqué also informs that the person that seriously violated contractual clauses and professional deontology was sacked. Valentin Zaschevici, editor-in-chief of the aforementioned daily, was laid off yesterday.Intact Media Group considers that infiltrating undercover agents within media institutions represents a serious infringement of the freedom of the press, a freedom guaranteed by Article 30 of the Romanian Constitution.

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