In Romania, main stream media is in a deep slump. Not only financially, but also as a credible instrument of information. In this landscape, ECPMF project has provoked a real debate regarding the media situation in Romania.
Dilema veche is publishing an article based on the articles of the ECPMF project, offering a country-based overview. The cases reported include: Macedonia case of police brutality against journalists who attended the refugees march of Hope, on the 14th of March; the poor state of freedom of the press in Turkey; the economic situation of journalists in Albania; the laws that are oppressing freedom of press in Belarus; the case of the Italian and American journalists in Greece that were held into custody unfairly; censorship in Serbia; the case of the Bulgarian journalist Stoian Toncev, that was attacked and threatened by a group of men.
Freedom of expression suffered influence, not to tell huge malformation after Justice started to really work in Romania – stated Cristina Guseth, the head of Freedom House Romania, in an interview for Dilema veche magazine. After the first convictions of important political and media owners in Romania, some media trusts have become highly virulent, vehement and aggressive towards the Justice system and independent journalists. Media lynching cases are increasing and corrupted journalists use this method as a thread for judges and journalists.
In Romania, the concept of freedom of press is still an Apple of Discord, used to manipulate public opinion: in 2014, Dan Voiculescu, the owner of the media group called Intact Group, was convicted to jail, for money laundering. The sentence also included seizure of all the Group television headquarters. The seizure sentence was implemented in 2016, but the journalists of the Intact Group have launched a vehement attack against Authorities, claiming that the freedom of press is violated. The Romanian Prime Minister took a stand, saying that the evacuation is legally motivated, and this has nothing to do with the broadcast license. Still, the public opinion was divided, not truly understanding the concept of press freedom. The manipulation are underway, meaning that a public debate about press freedom and freedom of speech is vital for a democratic society.
In Romania, in 2015 the President of Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea initiated a law project regarding slander: if a person or a minority group are subjects of slander there will be fines from 2000 to 60.000 lei (500 to 14.000 euros). On the 9th of February 2016, after the withdrawal from the public agenda, overnight, the project was adopted by the deputies. A law that could become a perverse instrument to abuse freedom of speech. The matter is still on debate.