[RO] Modification of the Audiovisual Law Adopted

IRIS 2011-7:1/37

Eugen Cojocariu

Radio Romania International

The Draft Law projected to change and complete the Legea Audiovizualului nr. 504/2002 (Audiovisual Law no. 504/2002), proposed by four Deputies of PD-L (Democrat-Liberal Party, the main ruling party), was tacitly adopted by the first chamber of the Romanian Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies (see IRIS 2011-4/31).

According to Art. 75 (2) of the Romanian Constitution the Chamber which is first addressed with a draft law has to debate and vote within 45 days (usually) or within 60 days (in exceptional cases). If no vote occurs, the draft is considered tacitly adopted and sent to the second chamber, which has no deadline to vote on the law. In the present case the constitutional term for the debate and the final vote on the Draft was on 6 April 2011, but had been prolonged by the Deputies to 21 April 2011 and was then even further exceeded. The proposal was debated, but has not obtained a final vote. The vote of the upper chamber (Senate) is decisive but there is no date of expiry for the debate and vote on the document.

One of the most important provisions of the project was the possibility for the members of the Consiliul Naţional al Audiovizualului (National Council for Electronic Media - CNA), the regulatory body in the field of audiovisual media, to issue much higher fines from Lei 10,000-200,000 (EUR 2,420-48,400) on television and radio stations due to censorship and editorial interference.

Harsh debates occurred in Romania these last months when owners and high-level managers of some important commercial television networks (Antena 3, Realitatea TV) were accused of censorship and interference in editorial decisions. Some employees left the stations and the CNA called for official hearings of more journalists and television owners.

The Draft mainly intended to merge the present Audiovisual Law with most of the provisions of the existing Audiovisual Content Regulatory Code. In the meantime, the CNA adopted a new Audiovisual Code through Decision No. 220/2011 (see IRIS 2011-5/38).


Related articles

IRIS 2011-4:1/31 [RO] Draft Amendments to the Audiovisual Law

IRIS 2011-5:1/38 [RO] New Audiovisual Content Regulatory Code

This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.