Uncut: Revolution Televised

In Moldova, an immediate neighbour of the EU, last year three young people died in protests against election fraud.

The election had to be repeated, but the violence remains a national memory. Now a journalistic project asks the Moldovan public to help analyse, what really happened. 16 hours of protests captured in 300 clips recorded by 13 different surveillance cameras, documenting the entire so-called “Twitter Revolution” in Moldova.

The project got technical support developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and works with a journalist research grant from Danish-Eastern-European Scoop.

The Watchdog Blog has been in touch with Stefan Candea from the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism. The journalist team behind the story asks those, who may have knowledge about the events, to help analyse the files. This is a task too big for individual journalists to analyse. Below I would like to quote from the website, where the surveillance clips are available. If you want to read more, you can go to the refering website of the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Text from the website:
In April 2009, about 15,000 people went to the streets of Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. The protests started with a flashmob on April the 6th, and grew bigger the next day on April the 7th. International media called it the “Twitter Revolution” and communist rulers called it a “Romanian provocation”. The demonstrators themselves claimed that elections were rigged and demanded the resignation of the communist government or the recount of votes. Events soon escalated out of control.

President Vladimir Voronin and the communist regime reacted violently to the protests, suspending the constitution starting with that night. The results: at least three dead youth, almost one thousand young people illegally arrested and tortured, over one thousand days of arrests issued, a president and prime-minister threatening to shoot the protesters and ordering the sequestration of students in schools.

The government tried to control any information related to the riots, so while one journalist was placed under house arrest, eight other journalists were picked up from the street and kept captive for hours or days, tens of reporters were beaten, harassed, threatened, almost 30 foreign journalists expelled or denied access into the Republic of Moldova. Internet connections were blocked, phone conversations jammed.

More than a year and a half after, nobody knows the names of people responsible for the abuses committed during those days. Nobody knows how many of the crowd were protesters or how many were actually working for the Moldovan Government. The repetition of the elections brought the communist regime to an end. Nevertheless, only one police officer and three judges were brought to justice. Less then 50 victims sued the government. Many of the other hundreds of victims felt intimidated by police not to press charges, or don’t have evidence.

You can change that!

Here are the uncut 16 hours of a revolution. This is the CCTV footage from 7th of April and the night that followed, recorded by government surveillance cameras located on the buildings of the Government, the Parliament and the Presidency in downtown Chisinau. These are the relevant hours captured in 300 clips recorded by 13 surveillance cameras starting on April the 7 at 10 am and ending at 2 am next morning. Moldovan authorities never released these videos.

We ask Moldovans to identify people and situations that were not reported in the media and to post a detailed comment under the video you are screening. Agents provocateurs? Violent protesters? Please log in to leave your observations, especially ones that might allow victims to hold perpetuators accountable. International lobby groups, organizations, artists or whoever is interested in the raw material, download all the videos in complete, uncompressed form.