The Minister of Agriculture, Vladimir Bolea, swore at a journalist during a press conference last Thursday, following discussions with farmers. The official turned off the microphone in front of him but forgot that the microphones of several television stations were still active. Two hours after the incident, Vladimir Bolea apologized on Facebook.
Visibly irritated by the journalist's questions, who wanted to know about subsidies for farmers, the minister turned to his colleague and used obscene language. In front of the two officials were five microphones.
"I deeply regret the undignified expression that arose out of stress. I publicly apologize for the mistake," the minister wrote on his Facebook page.
Cornelia Cozonac, the director of the Center for Investigative Journalism, characterized the minister's gesture as disqualifying for an official of his rank:
" No matter how uncomfortable the journalists' questions may be or how much some journalists may be disliked by them, ministers and other dignitaries should answer them”. They hold public office and are paid with citizens' funds, while journalists work in the public interest. Such behavior cannot be accepted. I believe the media community will take a stand, and I also think that the current government should react, possibly even requesting the resignation of the Minister of Agriculture."
The journalist believes that the media should show solidarity and, at the very least, boycott this minister. She recalled that there have been campaigns where journalists demonstratively left press conferences of war veterans, as some of them had assaulted journalists during street protests. In January 2017, journalists stood in solidarity at the initiative of the Center for Journalistic Investigations, blurring the faces of dignitaries for one day and writing XXY instead of the officials' names as a sign of protest against the blocking of access to information and the abusive interpretation of the law on the protection of personal data. This protest was linked to the case of an investigative journalist who faced the risk of a criminal case for accessing the personal data of a controversial former dignitary.
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