In a move to refute European Parliament’s petition delegation’s allegation of closed-door policy during a joint meeting in Bucharest, the Romanian Ministry of Environment released the event’s audio recording – probing illegal logging and environment destruction complaints – to Freedom House Romania / PressHub.
On Tuesday May 6, PREShub published the PETI delegation’s reaction to our revelation that media access to key moments of their fact-finding visit to Romania was tightly controlled and severely restricted.
The delegation held discussions with the Ministry of Environment and visited the country, following complaints regarding systemic illegal logging, as well as a list of referrals regarding the destruction of protected habitats.
The PRESShub’s feature contains a quote from the Ministry of Environment’s chief spokesperson, who told us that it was the PETI delegates who did not allow media representatives to attend the technical meeting with the Minister on a critical issue of major public interest.
But PETI delegation lead Yana Toom wrote to PRESShub to “clarify that shortly before the meeting at the Ministry the leader of the delegation asked the participants if they agreed to the participation of journalists in the meeting and that the Minister of Environment objected”.
Romania’s Ministry of the Environment responds to PETI
PRESShub requested a clarification from the Ministry of the Environment, regarding the latter statement from PETI’s response. Afterall, Environment, Waters and Forests Minister’s spokesperson Mihai Drăgan did initially tell us that „the only reason why the press did not have access to the meeting is that this was at the request of PETI delegates. The nature of this meeting is not public”.
A Ministry of Environment’s representative specified that such a discussion between the two sides, about media access, did not take place!
„Following preliminary discussions for the organisation of the meeting on May 15, as well as the PETI Commission’s usual practices for similar actions, MMAP proposed media access for image opportunities at the beginning of the meeting, as well as the support of statements by the participants at the end”, the communique sais.
“The EP representatives had no objections to the proposed format, also stating that, due to the limited time, there will be no press statements from the delegation leadership.”
“Regarding the information according to which there would have been a discussion before the actual meeting, in which the head of the EP delegation would have requested the consent for the participation of journalists and the minister would have opposed it, we specify that the information is totally erroneous, such a discussion did not exist, neither at the beginning of the meeting, nor after it”, an Environment Ministry’s spokesperson said.
As such, “in the spirit of transparency”, the Romanian Environment Ministry is granting access to the full recording of the talks, released exclusively to PRESShub.
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