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Media Reacts in Secret Leaks Scandal

Luni, 20 februarie 2006, 0:00

A Romanian journalist taken into preventive custody for ten days in a case related to military information leaks won the appeal against the General Prosecutor’s Office and was freed Saturday, after two days of prison. Marian Garleanu was charged with possession of secret documents and their spread to other persons.

Another journalist, Sebastian Oancea, has been placed under investigation in the same case and claimed this weekend his house was searched and that investigators wanted to copy data on his hardware.

Marian Garleanu, who is due to face hearings on Monday again, was charged with possession of secret documents and their spread to other persons.

The journalist claims that he was suggested to stop publishing investigations on military topics and all charges would be withdrawn. Garleanu has been writing for year articles about information leaks from the Defence Ministry (MApN).

An officer within MApN, Ionel Popa, believed to have provided the information, remains in arrest for 20 more days.

Other journalists were witnessed in the case. The managers of two central publications - "Ziua" and Romania Libera", answered the prosecutors’ questions within the last two days. Two more journalists from Ziua were called to Prosecutors General Office to testify Saturday.

Petre Mihai Bacanu, "Romania Libera" newspaper’s manager, said he was asked about the sender of a CD that had arrived at his office congaing military data. He did not know the source of this CD.

Another journalist from "Ziua" answered questions on the same subject, being informed that the CD the newspaper received was not the original one and the prosecutors wanted to know the first sender.

The two publications wrote on 7th February that they were delievered secret information regarding NATO military operations, but did not publish it. The Defence Ministry appreciated the "responsible attitude" of the two newspapers, however, arrestsment were made in the file, one of them involviong a journalist.

Mass-media and the civil society protested against this abuse. A debate organized by the Romanian Press Club on Sunday, bringing together representatives of NGOs, media employers and journalists, led to a conclusion that the case was an effort to intoxicate the media and destroy public trust in it.

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