Romania14 November 2008
NGO coalition criticises government decision to use decree to introduce digital broadcasting
Reporters Without Borders supports the criticism voiced in a press release yesterday by the Convention of Media Organisations (CMO), a coalition of more than 30 Romania-based NGOs, for the method chosen by Romanian government to regulate the digital terrestrial broadcasting market.
Two weeks before parliamentary elections, the communication and information technology ministry has decided to use an emergency government decree to introduce the digitalisation of radio and terrestrial TV broadcasting.
“We fully support the CMO position and we share its concern about the procedure used by the Romanian government for such an important issue,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The use of an emergency decree leaves little scope for action by legislators, yet a bill that has already been the subject of extensive consultation could have been quickly examined.”
The press freedom organisation added : “The decree, which takes effect as soon as it is published in the government gazette, is likely to cause problems. Even if parliament gets to vote on the text, decisions that have been implemented would be irreversible. This is why we join the CMO in urging the government not to go ahead. The decree would prevent the democratic debate that is essential for determining the future of digital broadcasting in Romania.”
The CMO press release identified two major flaws in the government decree :
1) It leaves the government in control of the mechanism for granting digital broadcast frequencies. The government would, as a result, become the sole “guardian” of the broadcasting market.
2) The issuing of operating licences takes no account of the content proposed by operators, ignoring the right of access to information of all the country’s citizens.
The Convention of Media Organisations :
(A coalition of more than 30 media NGOs that was established in Romania in 2002)
Centre for Independent Journalism,
Ioana Avadani, firstname.lastname@example.org, +4021 311 13 76
ActiveWatch - Media Monitoring Agency,
Liana Ganea, email@example.com, +4021 313 40 47