Romanian journalist Emilia Sercan has made it her mission to expose plagiarism at the country’s highest levels.
But her latest investigation of whether the prime minister passed off other people’s work as his own in his doctoral thesis has made her the target of a deluge of threats and leaked intimate photos she says are aimed at silencing her.
Academic freedom can be expressed as scientists/researchers speaking truth to power. In that vein, scientific sleuths are exposing powerful charlatans and cheats because of their bad acts. It is a sign of how hard that exposure bites when the exposure prompts attacks and vilification of the sleuths. This latest case from Romania is an example of that. Such sleuths are worthy of praise, not attack.
The latest to come into her crosshairs is Romania’s premier, former general Nicolae Ciuca.
In mid-January, she published an investigation in the independent media outlet PressOne, accusing Ciuca of using plagiarised content in 42 pages of his 138-page 2003 doctoral thesis on military science.
Since then the journalist has been the victim of a barrage of insults and hate speech on social media to the point where Sercan said she feels “in danger”.
“Never before have I felt targeted in such a way,” said the 46-year-old writer and academic, who has filed two complaints to the police over the threats.
Ciuca, a retired four star general who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, leads the ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) after being cherry-picked by President Klaus Iohannis, himself a liberal.