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EFJ, IFJ and AEJ alert Council of Europe on the threat to the Independence of the Romanian Public Broadcaster

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The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Association of European of Journalists (AEJ) have alerted the Council of Europe on the threat to the Independence of the Romanian Public Broadcaster (TVR).

These organisations have published a complaint on the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists in which they refer that that Romanian public broadcaster TVR is facing financial collapse caused by a chaotic management and the government’s decision to freeze the TV tax at the level of 2003 (4 Romanian lei, which is the lowest rate in Europe).

A package of proposed amendments to the Romanian Public Broadcaster Law (41/1994), which has been announced by several politicians, will make possible for the TVR to be declared insolvent. The Romanian union of journalists, MediaSind, fears this procedure could legitimise the government’s control on public broadcasting. MediaSind has called on Romanian authorities to protect TVR from political interference, including by restrictions of public broadcasting funding.

Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists

The Council of Europe launched the platform in April 2015 aiming to protect journalism and to promote the safety of journalists in Europe.

Seven partner organisations contribute to the platform: Article 19, the Association of European Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Index on Censorship and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The platform allows these partners to issue alerts concerning media freedom threats and to bring them to the attention of the Council of Europe institutions. Once the alerts are published, the Council of Europe sends them to the authorities of the country concerned.

The Council of Europe institutions may react publicly or start a dialogue on the issue with the authorities. Subsequently, responses of the member states and follow-up action taken by the competent bodies are also posted on the platform.

So far, the platform has recorded 144 alerts concerning 26  states. States have replied to 61 of them.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016