Vienna, 8 October 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed concern regarding the recently proposed draft law in Romania, which allegedly has the intent to regulate the national news agency AGERPRES.
The law proposal is set to be discussed by the Romanian Parliament on 11 October and was put forth by the newly elected Minister of Culture Lucian Romascanu while he was still president of the Culture Committee of the Romanian Senate. Along with Romascanu, the draft was signed by four other senators.
Unlike the current law, which prohibits bias by any political party towards the head of the news agency, this draft law proposes that a political majority has the right to decide to dismiss the director general of Agerpres. The same provisions would stand for the administration boards of both Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation (SRR) and the Romanian National Television Corporation (SRTV), allowing them to be dismissed before the end of their mandates in order to align with the prevailing political forces.
SEEMO expressed deep concern for this draft law and called on the minister of culture and others who proposed it to immediately revoke the document, since it clearly presents a threat to the independence and free functioning of Agerpres and other relevant outlets in Romania. It is unacceptable for political parties to have a regulated method of censorship and filtration of information, and thus SEEMO urges members of the Romanian Parliament to dismiss this proposal at once.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.