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IRIS 2012-3:1/30

Romania

OTV Sanctioned again for Breaching Electoral Campaigns Rules

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Eugen Cojocariu

Radio Romania International

On 19 January 2012 the Consiliul Naţional al Audiovizualului (National Council for Electronic Media - CNA) again sanctioned the commercial tabloid television station OTV for interrupting its programme for 10 minutes on 20 January 2012 at 19.00 local time, and for broadcasting only the announcement of the sanction.

The trigger for the sanction was electoral advertising broadcast outside the electoral campaign period in favour of the political party Partidul Poporului - Dan Diaconescu (PP-DD, People’s Party - Dan Diaconescu) founded by the owner of the station: Dan Diaconescu (see inter alia IRIS 2009-6/28, IRIS 2011-9/31 and IRIS 2011-10/36).

The sanction was issued because of repeated breaches of Art. 139 of the Codul Audiovizualului - Decizia nr. 220/2011 privind Codul de reglementare a conţinutului audiovizual, cu modificările şi completările ulterioare (Audiovisual Code - Decision no. 220/2011 concerning the regulation of audiovisual content, with further modifications and completions). According to this Article positive and negative advertising for political parties, politicians and political messages is forbidden except during electoral campaign periods.

Even though the broadcaster had been sanctioned several times in the past for similar legal infringements, it continued to broadcast spots with political content between 7 October 2011 and 12 January 2012, the Council stated. OTV was sanctioned five times, from time to time, for the same fault, the total amount being RON 265,000 (EUR 61,050), in 2010-2011. The Council considered that OTV purposely continued a real electoral-campaign activity outside an allowed period, which could harm potential electoral competitors.

References
Decizia nr. 35 din 19.01.2012 privind privind sancţionarea radiodifuzorului S.C. OCRAM TELEVIZIUNE S.R.L., pentru postul de televiziune OTV, cu obligaţia de a difuza, în ziua de 20.01.2012, timp de 10 minute, între orele 19.00-19.10, numai textul deciziei de sancţionare emise de C.N.A. RO
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=15656
 
  Decision no. 35 of 19. January 2012 concerning the sanction for S.C. OCRAM TELEVIZIUNE S.R.L., for the TV station OTV