The advertising spending of the public institutions in Romania dropped from 14.7 million euro in 2004 to only 3 million in 2005, according to an independent report one year after a law on the transparency of state advertising was adopted.

The report, launched by the Bucharest-based Center for Independent Journalism (CJI) on Monday, suggests that the bulk of public advertising delivered under the 2000-2004 Social-Democratic government was in huge excess, pointing to the use of public money to control lots of Romanian media economically.

But according to CJI head, the 10 million euro drop recorded last year in comparison to the electoral year of 2004 may partially be blamed on the lack of legislative information, of a clear understanding of a law supporting more transparency in this sector and the “fear” of uninformed public officials to provide advertising over the past 12 months.

State advertising was seen as a major means to control the media under the Social Democratic government that lost the elections in 2004.