AGERPRES Managing Director Claudia Nicolae said on Wednesday at hearings before the Committee on Culture of the Chamber of Deputies that the law was not violated by the submission to the Police of pictures taken by the agency of a street protest on August 10, 2018, as there was no secret information conveyed, adding that it was not her to make the decision.Nicolae made the statement after opposition MP of the Save Romania Union (USR) Iulian Bulai asked her at the hearings to explain the information in the public space according to which AGERPRES would have submitted to the Police pictures from the August 10, 2018 protest.
"I was not a director at the time, I could not explain how the decision was made, but we obviously conducted an internal inquiry into the situation. The AGERPRES law clearly states that the main mission of the agency is to inform the public. The inquiry into all the documents provided by my colleagues revealed that there were two requests: one from the Police homicide section and one from the General Romanian Police Inspectorate (IGPR) asking for pictures that could help a criminal investigation," said Nicolae.
She added that the pictures and videos were distributed and uploaded to the AGERPRES website.
"Of about 300 photos taken that day, 200 were uploaded to the agency's website, so the public mission of the institution was completed," Nicolae explained.
She pointed out that it was not her to make the decision to submit the pictures to the Police, because at the time she was not holding her current position.
"It was not me to make the decision, and I do not know how that decision was made. In my view, no law was violated, because that was no secret information, or classified documents; it was about pictures of a public event, which the press has had access to. The same requests were sent to most media outlets, and I think the decision to heed to the requests of the authorities was each outlet's to make. I have seen some comments on the freedom of the press, and I believe it includes - whether or not the press wants to provide images that are not secret," said Nicolae.
She also said that the editor-in-chief of the video department who would have refused to share the clips made by AGERPRES, was not fired.
"The editor-in-chief has never been fired, nor re-hired. He continues to hold the same position in the agency, and he was not demoted either," concluded Nicolae.