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Romania26 June 2008

TV and radio editorial freedom threatened by senate’s “anachronistic” bill

Although initially rejected by the chamber of deputies, a proposed amendment to the broadcasting law that would force radio and TV stations to balance news with “negative” themes with an equal amount of news with “positive” themes was adopted yesterday by the senate. The amendment needs to be approved by the president to take effect.

Prior to the vote, the senate’s human rights commission opposed the bill but it was supported by the culture and mass media commission.

“This bill is utterly unacceptable in an European Union member country,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Only countries such as China or North Korea still adopt this kind of retrograde and anachronistic legislation, which is completely subjective and devoid of meaning.”

The press freedom organisation added : “We call on President Traian Basescu not to sign this bill into law as it is manifestly incompatible with the European standards that Romania accepted when it joined the EU in 2007. We urge the senate, if it is called on to hold another vote, to reject this bill in its entirety.”

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