The Surveillance of Journalists in Central, South-East Europe is the theme of a dedicated exhibition to the journalists who suffered from being surveilled by the state police or private entities. BIRN organizes the exhibition in Sarajevo, and it gathers testimonies from the journalists who were threatened, surveilled or had their conversations tapped for doing their job.
‘The Surveillance States’, a multimedia exhibition based on BIRN’s extensive research into the covert monitoring of journalists in 15 countries in Central and South-East Europe, opened on Wednesday at the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
Organized by BIRN, the exhibition seeks to give a deeper insight into the surveillance of journalists from the authoritarian Communist period to the present day.
The exhibition includes video testimonies from journalists who have been the targets of surveillance in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Three journalists from Romania were included in the exhibition
Alexandru Costache, G4Media
The investigation established that 11 people were involved in the surveillance,Alex Costache, Romanian journalist
and that they were paparazzi, or they presented themselves as such… they
were journalists, they said, journalists at Gândul [online newspaper]. A good
cover for them, for presenting themselves as journalists, they could not be
asked who sent them there, or who gave them the information that we are
meeting there. They obviously invoked the confidentiality of the source, and
could not be questioned on this matter.
Emilia Sercan, independent journalist
The worst consequences of my work would be, briefly, death threats,Emilia Sercan, independent Romanian journalist
surveillance, the use of compromising material to discredit, online violence,
online harassment and other forms of pressure.
Liana Ganea, Active Watch
The most serious forms of threats or pressure take the form of physicalLiana Ganea, Active Watch
aggression. Of course that’s where we have the biggest problems and the
biggest fears. And there have been cases of such physical aggression.
One serious case involved a team, not necessarily of journalists, but of people
documenting illegal logging.
Journalists are constantly surveilled, monitored and threatened in Romania, and, case after case, people realize this is ongoing. There are no accidents or confusion – politicians want journalists to feel unsafe and constantly threatened so as not to publish their investigation. As long as corruption exists, politicians will always be interested in buying or threatening journalists to keep their mouths shut and stop investigations altogether.
The state of press freedom is deteriorating in Romania, and this is not only visible for the journalists living and working in Romania, but it is also mentioned, year after year, by international press freedom monitoring institutions.