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Moldova: A Bureaucratic Exchange


http://gdb.rferl.org/60AD5499-9084-455E-9ABD-9ED393DE8577_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/60AD5499-9084-455E-9ABD-9ED393DE8577_mw800_mh600.jpg RFE/RL correspondent Elena Moldoveanu (left) interviewing people outside the bureau (RFE/RL) CHISINAU, 24 August, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- RFE/RL Romania-Moldova Service correspondent Elena Moldoveanu recently took to the streets to speak to people lined up near the offices of the Population Registry Bureau in Chisinau.

While conducting interviews, she was confronted by the head of the bureau, Stela Godonogea, who asked the correspondent to leave despite the fact that she was not on the bureau's property.

This is their exchange -- which grew to include onlookers, additional bureau personnel and, eventually, police:

Stela Godonogea:
"My dearest lady, please come in."

RFE/RL:
"I have not entered the office."

Godonogea:
"I cannot allow you [to stay outside], I am the head of this bureau, and I am inviting you in. "

RFE/RL:
I don't want to [come in], I don't need a passport, and I did not come to your office.

Godonogea:
Just a moment, do you have permission from our Ministry [of Information Development]?

RFE/RL:
"I am staying on the street, ma'am!"

Godonogea:
"I am asking you a lot, don't stay on the street."

Man:
"Come on, lady, get in!"

RFE/RL:
"What for? I don't need to go in."

Man:
"Just tell her and that's it."

RFE/RL:
"Why?"

Godonogea:
"Why are you making the interview?"

RFE/RL:
"I am making it on the street, ma'am. Everybody lets me."

Godonogea:
"Explain to me...."

RFE/RL:
"I shall submit a complaint to the government, I am recording now -- you are prohibiting me to make interviews on the street. I am on the street now."

Godonogea:
"Grigore, please call the police and.... I am asking you nicely to put an end to this stuff. We grant permission within the ministry. All the television and the press make requests to the ministry. If the ministry grants them...there is a special unit [to deal with interviews]. Please leave the area."

2nd man:
"Are you afraid to explain what you are doing here?"

RFE/RL:
"I am making interviews and I am taking polls among the people."

2nd man:
"Then talk, explain!"

RFE/RL:
"But I already explained to you long ago!"

2nd man:
"What are your questions? Let me tell you some things."

Godonogea:
"Here at the ministry, we have a special unit that deals with people who want to enter...."

RFE/RL:
"But I have not entered the office, I am standing on the sidewalk."

Godonogea:
"…and deals with our citizens whom we serve."

RFE/RL:
"Let me work. You are infringing the access to information."

Godonogea:
"Who are you?"

RFE/RL:
"Here, this is my press pass from Radio Free Europe."

Godonogea:
"Come with me to my office."

RFE/RL:
"But I don't want to go in, because I don't need to!"

Godonogea:
"This is our institution, lady. Please."

RFE/RL:
"I will sue you, don't ask me."

Godonogea:
"Well, let me tell you once again -- there is a unit here...

RFE/RL:
"Stop asking me.... First of all, you assaulted me, you pulled down my microphone, let us start from this point."

Godonogea:
"Me?! [unintelligible] on the stairs."

RFE/RL:
"I am going to get a phone number, I wasn't on the stairs, and I didn't even reach the stairs."

Godonogea:
"I am making you an invitation, asking you into my office."

RFE/RL:
"Why?"

Godonogea:
"To talk to you."

RFE/RL:
"What is it you want to know? I'll give you the answers right away."

Godonogea:
"Oh, come on.... Are you coming?"

RFE/RL:
"What for?"

Godonogea:
"Let's have a discussion."

RFE/RL:
"I am already having one with you here."

Godonogea:
"Stop it lady, right now."

RFE/RL:
"I have nothing to stop. I am doing my job, I have introduced myself, showed you my ID."

Godonogea:
"You did not. Our unit processes the IDs of people who want to make interviews or to shoot inside."

RFE/RL:
"I am on the street. Is your institution a public one? Is it private?"

Godonogea:
"Our respected lady, yes, we are the state enterprise Registru."

RFE/RL:
"Private?"

Godonogea:
"Yes, the state enterprise Registru.

RFE/RL:
"I am standing on the street."

Godonogea:
"Please leave."

RFE/RL:
"I cannot leave, because I am on the street. Do you have any right to throw me out of the street?"

Godonogea:
"Then come to my office for a discussion."

RFE/RL:
"I do not need to follow you. What am I going to do in your office? I am sorry, no."

Godonogea:
"I am asking you -- do you have any authorization, a contract with our ministry to make interviews?"

RFE/RL:
"Yes, we have a contract with the government."

Godonogea:
"Show it to me please."

RFE/RL:
"Here it is, look."

Godonogea:
"No, lady, I am asking you, with the Information Development Ministry, do you have....

RFE/RL:
"In the Republic of Moldova we can make interviews anywhere."

Godonogea:
"Where did you read this? Where did you read that you have the right to come to us and make interviews? [unintelligible] Please leave the area."

RFE/RL:
"Let me work normally."

[unintelligible voices of people in line debating issues of rights, democracy.]

Godonogea:
"Let us speak with our superiors."

RFE/RL:
"I don't need any superiors."

Woman:
"There is no way to talk with the powers that be."

RFE/RL:
"Why can't you speak with them?"

Woman:
"Because -- look at you. You are not doing anything wrong. If someone wants to express their opinion, his thinking, why is he denied the right to say something?"

Godonogea:
"Then go on the street...."

Woman:
"And where you think I am? At home?"

Godonogea:
"You are on our property."

Woman:
"Where can I read that this is your property?"

Godonogea:
"Take a look at the sign."

The woman:
"The property is there, but here I see only a line. Whose fault is it that the line snakes into the middle of the road?"

Police officer:
"You see, you are creating problems."

RFE/RL:
"Who is creating problems for you?

Police officer:
"Godonogea called us to show you away from the gate. She does not allow you here. Please leave."

RFE/RL:
"I am on the street. Man has the right to an opinion. I need to interview these people. If you send me away, this is not normal."

Police officer:
"If she says it is not permitted and you don't have permission from her, then I can do nothing for you. You can call anyplace you wish."
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