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IRIS 2017-10:1/31

Romania

Problems with the modification of the Law on Public Service Broadcasting

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Eugen Cojocariu

Radio Romania International

The Legal Standing Committee of the Chamber of Deputies (lower Chamber of Romania’s Parliament) decided on 18 September 2017 that the representatives in the Boards of Administration of the public radio and TV services may retain party membership during the exercise of their mandate, but not the leadership role within trade union organisations. The decision is due to put the intended modification of the Law no. 41/1994 on the functioning of the Romanian public radio and television services in accordance with the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Romania (see inter alia IRIS 2013-5/37, IRIS 2013-10/36, IRIS 2014-1/38, IRIS 2014-2/30, IRIS 2014-4/25, IRIS 2014-6/30, IRIS 2014-7/30, IRIS 2015-6/33, IRIS 2015-8/26, IRIS 2016-5/28, IRIS 2017-3/26, IRIS 2017-8/31).

At the same time, the Legal Standing Committee of the Chamber of Deputies decided to withdraw an article which provided for the appointment of new Boards of Administration within 90 days from the date of entry into force of the new form of Law no. 41/1994. On 12 July 2017, the Constitutional Court of Romania, seized by the Liberal and Popular opposition parties, ruled that some articles of the intended modification of Law no. 41/1994 were not constitutional. The Legal Committee’s decisions must be voted in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies and then discussed in the Senate, the upper Chamber, whose vote is decisive.

On the other hand, on 27 September 2017, the Romanian Parliament rejected the 2016 annual activity report of TVR, the Romanian public television, and dismissed its Board of Administration. The Parliament appointed Mrs Doina Gradea, member of the dismissed Board of Administration, as the Interim General Director for a mandate of up to 6 months. The Parliament reproached the former Board of very poor financial management, even after the payment of TVR’s historical debts (around EUR 145 million), with the help of a record state budget allocation at the beginning of 2017. The MPs blamed the roll-out and the increase in debts; the lack of valuable acquisitions; the neglect of production; the underfunding; and the internal and external disinterest in the institution for bringing national television to the brink of collapse. The National Liberal Party and the Popular Movement Party (opposition) declared that they did not accept that the TVR activity report was discussed too fast, and in a hurry. The new TVR Interim Director General, Doina Gradea, has a long journalistic and managerial experience in private media (TVs: Canal 31, ProTV, Pro TV International, as well as the Mediafax news agency).

At the same time, on 27 September, the Romanian Parliament appointed the new Board of Administration of Radio România, the public service. Mr Georgică Severin, a former Social Democrat member of the Senate, was elected as President and CEO of Radio Romania for a mandate of 4 years. He has been the Interim General Director of Radio Romania since 26 April 2017, when the Parliament dismissed the radio broadcaster’s Board of Administration for poor management.

References
Propunere legislativă pentru modificarea şi completarea Legii nr.41/1994 privind organizarea şi funcţionarea Societăţii Române de Radiodifuziune şi Societăţii Române de Televiziune - forma adoptată de Senat RO
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=18776
 
  Draft Law for amending and completing the Law no. 41/1994 on the organization and functioning of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation and the Romanian Television Broadcasting Corporation - form adopted by the Senate      
Hotărârea nr. 65/2017 a Parlamentului României pentru respingerea Raportului de activitate și a Contului de execuție bugetară ale Societății Române de Televiziune pe anul 2016 RO
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=18777
 
  Decision no. 65/2017 of the Parliament of Romania for the rejection of the Activity Report and the Budget Execution Account of the Romanian Television Society for 2016      
Hotărârea nr. 66/2017 a Parlamentului României privind desemnarea membrilor Consiliului de administrație al Societății Române de Radiodifuziune RO
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=18778
 
  Decision no. 66/2017 of the Parliament of Romania regarding the appointment of the members of the Board of Administration of the Romanian Broadcasting Society