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IRIS 2018-10:1/22

Romania

Modification of the Audiovisual Law with regard to audiovisual communication of an educational character

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Eugen Cojocariu

Radio Romania International

The Chamber of Deputies (the lower chamber of the Romanian Parliament) adopted on 26 September 2018 a draft law that modifies and completes Audiovisual Law no. 504/2002, with further modifications and completions, with regard to audiovisual communication of an educational character (see, inter alia, IRIS 2013-6/27, IRIS 2014-1/37, IRIS 2014-2/31, IRIS 2014-7/29, IRIS 2014-9/26, IRIS 2015-10/27, IRIS 2016-2/26, IRIS 2016-10/24, IRIS 2017-7/28, 2017-1/30, IRIS 2018-6/30, IRIS 2018-6/31, and IRIS 2018-8/36).

The law awaits the final approval of the Senate (upper chamber), but no deadline for this has been set yet. The draft law was tabled by 40 Romanian MPs and aims to introduce the concept of “audiovisual communication of an educational character” into the Audiovisual Law. Owing to the fact that the book market in Romania is among the most underdeveloped in the European Union and Romanians have barely been in the habit of reading books in recent years, the initiators of the draft law hope that the amendments will lead to a doubling of the consumption of books in Romania.

Paragraph 16 of Article 1 of the draft law defines “audiovisual communication of an educational character” relating to the importance and promotion of reading in the public space as “sound [messages] or video messages, with or without sound, which are meant to inform and educate the population. They will run for free and will be marked as such.”

The draft law also introduces a new Article 17(d)(10) on the powers of the National Audiovisual Council to issue regulatory decisions in order to carry out those of its tasks that are expressly provided for in Audiovisual Law no. 504/2002 - in particular, its responsibilities in respect of educational audiovisual communication in public areas regarding the importance and promotion of reading.

Furthermore, a new Article 30 stipulates that: “Educational Audiovisual Communications on the importance and promotion of reading in public areas must observe the following conditions:

“a. to inform and educate the population about the importance of reading;

b. to inform and educate the public so as to promote reading;

c. to run for free;

d. not to contain any commercial references or promote an institution or person;

e. the development of content and messages should be undertaken by the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the National Audiovisual Council;

f. in the case of television programmes and services, audiovisual media communication [measures] regarding the importance and promotion of reading […] are to be undertaken in the form of campaigns four times a year (each campaign lasting one month), at least three times a day between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., [and at least once] during the main news programme. In the case of each campaign, the form of the message should be distinct.”

Under Article 90 h) of the Audiovisual Law, breaches of the above provisions will be sanctioned as offences.

References
Propunere legislativă pentru modificarea şi completarea Legii audiovizualului nr. 504/2002 cu modificările şi completările ulterioare - forma adoptată de Camera Deputaţilor RO
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19282
 
  Draft Law for the modification and completion of the Audiovisual Law no. 504/2002, with further modifications and completions - the form adopted by the Chamber of Deputies      
Propunere legislativă pentru modificarea şi completarea Legii audiovizualului nr. 504/2002 cu modificările şi completările ulterioare - expunere de motive Deputaţilor RO
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19283
 
  Draft Law for the modification and completion of the Audiovisual Law no. 504/2002, with further modifications and completions - statement of reasons