Vienna, 21 October 2016 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemned the draft law approved by the Romanian Senate on 17 October, which proposed eliminating all monthly fees for TV and radio licenses, so far included in the monthly electric bill paid by individuals and companies in Romania,. Instead, the Senate suggested the introduction of direct funding of public service media through the state budget. The law, introduced by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), was approved with a controversial timing: as the election campaign is approaching, tax relief is one of the efficient populist measure.
The proposal was initiated by the Social-Democrat party leader in the light of upcoming elections in the country, and the draft bill is now being discussed by political authorities.
“We condemn any attempt of the state with meddling into the work of public service media outlets within Romania” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said today. “Not only would this draft bill take away all independence from journalists working within these public service media houses, it would also send a negative message on how the country and its institutions are disrespecting and censoring media freedom” Vujovic added.
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.