The state intends to impose restrictions on filming with the drone, including those used in the journalistic investigation, on the grounds that it would interfere with flight safety. Journalists believe that in fact, it is a new invention of the authorities to protect corrupt officials.
According to Article 5, p.12 of the Air Code of the Republic of Moldova, approved by the Government and transmitted to Parliament on December 30, 2016 "any activity that falls outside of civil aviation activities, aiming to reach the airspace of the various material bodies that could pose a threat to aviation flight safety, can be performed only if prior coordinated with the administrative authority for the implementation and realization of civil administration policies".
Valeriu Luca, the head of light aviation from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has methional for CrimeMoldova that, to make footage with the drone, journalists must first obtain a permit from the CAA, after which they should coordinate the flight with SE MoldATSA. "Those who want to launch the drone will be obliged by law to communicate their geographical position, even giving exact coordinates, where the drone will be launched and the height it will reach," said the official.
Valeriu Luca argues that the introduction of restrictions for filming with drones is caused by the fact that it represents increased danger to flight safety "Apart from large spaceships, there are other smaller ones, such as sanitary helicopters, flying at a low height. The drones are made of metal, and in a collision with a helicopter, the whole crew dies. Therefore, flying drones should be restricted, and those who violate, will be held accountable for violating flights security rules. There is also another problem. Journalists perform aerial footage of households of some people, and if they do not want their households to be filmed, then the journalists have no right to do so."
Iurie Sănduţă, RISE Moldova director, stated for CrimeMoldova that the restriction would hinder investigative journalism. "I had a case when I tried to shoot Vlad Plahotniuc’s Bucharest villa with the drone. I could not film, because the building is near the airport and drones are equipped with censors, so they can not be launched in the airports area. I photographed villa from the street, but I couldn’t render much from outside the high fence. Or another case, when I shot over 20 villas with the drone, in the forest Căpriana. Imagine the effect of the video, if filming would be done from the ground. The journalists can unearth wrongdoing with the help of drones, which is inconvenient for officials. I think it is a way of hiding the illegally acquired wealth, of those in power. I would understand if the authorities would force those who pilot drones to attend some classes. After implementing abusive Law on the Protection of Personal Data, the authorities have invented a lever to limit investigative journalism. Media organizations must react, "said Sănduţă.
Contacted by CrimeMoldova, the executive director of the Independent Press Association, Petru Macovei, said that authorities are not entitled to impose conditions on the use of drones by journalists: "The drones have been recognized at European level as reporting tools. It can not be restricted the use of drones by journalists who do their job."
The engineer Andrei Aparatu, confirmed for CrimeMoldova the alleged danger imposed by drones for aviation security, is an invention: "First, light aircrafts, including helicopters do not fly at a height of less than 500 meters, and the most advanced drone can not exceed a height of 500 meters. Moreover, professional drones are equipped with censors to avoid collisions. I do not think journalists raises drones at a height greater than 200 meters, when filming a household. When filming at a higher level, the images are blurred."