Around 150 people took part in a protest organized on Saturday, April 9, in solidarity with journalist Emilia Șercan, the victim of new acts of intimidation and threats, after she wrote that Prime Minister Ciuca’s doctoral thesis is plagiarized. People have pointed out that the loss of freedom of expression is a symptom of the degradation of democracy.
Under the strong sun of the afternoon of Saturday, April 9, several dozen people gathered at the protest organized in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in solidarity with the journalist Emilia Șercan, victim of a compromise action in which, she showed, state authorities are involved.
While the protesters chanted “Emiliaaa, Emiliaaaa, Emiliaaaa” or “Bode, don’t forget to sign your resignation”, several thousand others are walking on Calea Victoriei in Bucharest, in one of the most beautiful spring days of this year. For several hours, the city seems to be living in a bubble of its own, a spring bubble, without war, death threats or leaked information from criminal cases.
“It simply came to our notice then. Your freedom is taken away, the world is comfortable, it will stay in the house, it doesn’t affect me, it’s just a journalist, but we don’t realize that this is how we lose ourselves “, believes Iuliana Moisă, a 33-year-old protester who has been working in the IT field for years.
“I think it is very important for the press to be free and to be able to investigate, so that we do not end up in a dictatorship. A very eloquent example is Russia now, where narratives are fabricated as truth, ”she added.
“I didn’t think I’d be in a situation like this again.”
Emilia Șercan is an investigative journalist who uncovered dozens of plagiarisms of powerful politicians, she wrote about the corrupt doctoral system from the SRI Academy or the Police Academy. In 2019, she was threatened with death by former heads of the Police Academy, later sentenced to 3 years in prison with suspension for instigating blackmail.
“After the episode with the threats, I didn’t think I would go through a situation like this again,” said Emilia, who was protesting. Two years later, it happens again.
After Emilia Șercan showed that Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă plagiarized in his doctoral thesis, in an investigation published on January 18, a new series of threats and actions of intimidation and defamation followed.
In mid-February, the journalist learned that several personal pictures had been stolen from her phone and posted on adult sites. He took a screenshot and filed a complaint with the police. 40 minutes after leaving the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Service, the arrest sent by the journalist and submitted to the criminal case was published on a website in the Republic of Moldova, being later taken over on other sites. The evidence was removed from the file. This was followed by an action to cover up the entire operation, described by Emilia Șercan in an article published on April 4.
“Why did I come? If we don’t take care of the little democracy we have, we risk losing this one too “, says Lucian, 30 years old, who works in mechanical design. The man came alone to protest. He has the book “How I Learned to Understand the World,” written by Swedish author Hans Rosling.
The book itself is a small symbol of resistance. It went through a “mini-radiator flood” and although it escaped a little wrinkled, the writing resisted. Rosling is best known for his book “Factfulness,” in which he explains, “based on facts,” that “the world is not as bad a place as we think it is, and the direction we are heading is better than we expected.” says Lucian. But Romania seems to illustrate the exact opposite of Rosling’s theory.
“We have freedom of expression as long as it is in line with power and does not bother. It becomes problematic when you get to criticize, as is the case with Emilia. And then they try to put you in the corner by various methods, in this case quite rude “, adds Lucian.
Gabriel Pintea, another protester, believes that we are experiencing a gradual loss of democracy, which we are not well aware of. “It simply came to our notice then. It’s not something you see from one hour to the next. It’s gradual, “he said.
Maria, 25, is at the first protest in her life. It has a sign that reads I want transparency. Meritocracy. “It simply came to our notice then. Democracy must be maintained. We saw what happened in the United States on January 6 (On January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill, no.) Was stormed. You can’t harass journalists like that “, Maria explains.
“I disturbed the system”
Cosmin Pojoranu, from Funky Citizen, one of the NGOs that organized the protest, reads into the microphone the names of several politicians who plagiarized their doctoral dissertations. It has several A4 sheets, covered with their names.
“If you don’t remember, plagiarism is theft,” says Cosmin.
Emilia Șercan does not want to speak into the microphone. She stays in a corner, discreet. But people come to take pictures of her or thank her for her work.
I ask her why she thinks she’s being systematically targeted. “It simply came to our notice then. If we look at the last few years, many of the people I wrote about were in office, they had a lot of influence, a lot of power. Suddenly they felt vulnerable because someone wrote about them not stealing, but plagiarizing. And this has made them vulnerable in the eyes of the public. Their public image is being scrutinized and the world is questioning their competence, even their professional training “, explains the journalist in a discussion with Libertatea.
Some of the protesters say that Emilia Șercan became the target of these attacks because she is an awkward journalist, but also because she is a woman, and in a macho society like Romania, being a woman is considered a weakness.
“He has been very involved in revealing these taxes since 2012. In addition, in Romanian society, I think it has a much greater impact to take some intimate pictures with some women, not with some men. I think she was attacked from this point as well “, explains Iuliana Moisă.
“I wonder if he was a man, would he be the same? And they were deceived that at some point he will give up, that he doesn’t have that much power “, says Anca Arambașa, a 28-year-old woman who works in PR and communication.
The sleeping city
The small number of people who gathered to support Emilia Șercan or who went to protest in front of the Russian Embassy, since the war in Ukraine began, is related to the wave of disappointment crossed by the society after the protests in 2017, believes Cristian Crivăț, one of the protesters. He worked in the army, but is now retired.
“I think that wave of 2017 was a big disappointment and people got tired. Until something serious happens enough to mobilize again, it will take some time, “said the man.
Ana, one of the protesters, talks about “Sleeping Bucharest”.
“Why did I come? Because I don’t know what country I live in anymore. But I’m watching the war in Ukraine closely. Bucharest, at least, is asleep. Or it is so mixed with people who see their life, their stomach. Civic spirit no longer exists in this city. The world does not feel like it belongs to a place and then there is no reason to fight. Everyone dreams of leaving, “she said.
“What happens to Emilia happens to anyone who opens her mouth and has a different point of view.
Most sleep in slippers, and those who are agitated are agitated in the opposite direction. And I don’t know where Emilia has so much power from “, the woman concludes.
“I think we can all be Emilia Șercan at some point,” says Andreea Apostu, 25.
“I am just wondering where they want to go next. They have gone from death threats to these things, which are just as miserable. You also feel that you no longer trust the state. There are so many people leaving, you wonder why she’s not leaving too. He would have a brilliant career anywhere. But she stays here, to fight the windmills, and that’s why we’re here. A man is fighting for the country and the state institutions to function, and we must be with her “, adds the young woman.
Source From: Libertatea