To all CNA members
To the Media and Culture Committee of the Romanian Senate
To the Culture, Arts, and Mass media Committee of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies
To the Presidential Administration
To the Romanian Government
After witnessing the unacceptable slips of Antena 3, and România TV, on January 23, 2017, Active Watch demands for the enforcement of all legal procedures, in order to evaluate CNA’s activity, and bringing it back to its public service mission.
We demand the above mentioned Parliamentary Committees to organize a public meeting, and evaluate the catastrophic situation of CNA, in terms of urgency.
We demand the well-intentioned CNA members to publicize the dysfunctions, and to expose the individuals and procedures that have led to the institution’s sabotage.
We demand CNA to make the complaints regarding TV channels slips in covering the protests on January 22, 2017 its absolute priority.
We demand CNA to analyze all media slips during the elections campaign, without delay.
Active Watch has repeatedly warned against the CNA inefficiency during the last few years, which led to an increase in illegal behaviors of radio-tv stations, with an emphasis on the above mentioned ones.
Although imperfect, if the Audio-visual Code of Conduct and the Audio-visual Law were implemented, they will be enough to prevent the critical slips of audio-visual operators.
The drift of CNA is emphasized by a series of dysfunctionalities:
- The complaints are discussed so late, that they are prescribed before producing penalties. 1.600 complaints have been prescribed between 2014-2016 (source: Pagina de Media), and numerous sentences for drift during the elections campaign in November – December 2016 have been delayed.
- Audio-visual operators receive only one penalty for cumulated offenses during the sentence period, a fact which encourages relapses.
- The institution has no early reaction to major socio-political events, when media role is crucial.
- The institution is inactive for long periods of time (during 2016 only, 17 meetings were postponed).
During the last years, we have noticed an increasing political influence over the private TV stations’ agenda, and an abuse to freedom of speech, which affects the right to correct information. This abuse was possible due to CNA passiveness, which has not used its legal instruments to impose minimal standards for the information and debating public space.
Therefore, an actual debate is absolutely necessary, so that CNA exerts its mandate, of guardant of public interest.
The undersigning organizations advocate freedom of speech and believe that a rich, vibrant, and diverse media environment is essential to the democratic developments in Romania. Yet, the development of such environment needs an active, and efficient regulatory body, which honestly plays its role, of protector of public interest.
The appeal is supported by:
The Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
The Convention of Media Organizations (COM)
The Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania – the Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH)
CeRe – The Resource Center for Public Participation
The Romanian Center for European Policy
The article is a contribution of the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest, a SEENPM member organization.