Romanian newspapers today continue to debate the consolidation of the Romanian media with the takeover of one media group by another, masterminded by a controversial businessman. The reaction of the EU to a Romanian rejection of European support in its fight against bird flu is also discussed, while judicial moves against top politicians and businessmen lately draw considerable attention.
Evenimentul Zilei leads the pack in discussing the takeover earlier this month of the Academia Catavencu media group by Realitatea Media controlled by Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, a businessman generally linked to a collapsed financial scheme that left hundreds of thousands of Romanians bankrupt.
According to Evenimentul Zilei, the takeover produced turmoil within the Catavencu group, as journalists published two editorials challenging the consolidation of the media and the presence of Vantu on top of their company.
And the flagship paper of the group, satire weekly “Academia Catavencu”, published a note yesterday that can me read between the lines to reveal a message of protest against the takeover, according.
And Evenimentul Zilei continues an interview with Sorin Ovidiu Vantu himself, who says he would have liked to be the friend of President Traian Basescu and he regretted that he was not. SO Vantu also refrains from stating clearly whether he fears Basescu or not, considering the head of state’s repeated attacks on against him.
Meanwhile, Cotidianul – a newspaper of the Catavencu group – reports that the owner of another media giant, Dan Voiculescu, who is also the leader of the Conservative Party, has announced that he would leave his position as a majority stakeholder in the Intact Media group and his other business, Grivco, in favor of his daughters.
Cotidianul links this decision with Voiculescu’s statement about how he considered the consolidation of the media as a dangerous process in Romania.
The same Cotidianul reports that former prime minister, former Parliament speaker Adrian Nastase is once again the target of prosecutors for his role in in a series of irregularities linked to the establishment of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, hosted by the gigantic People’s House in Bucharest that also hosts the Romanian House of Deputies.
Judges have urged prosecutors to re-open an inquiry in the case, which Gandul compares to another cause against Nastase.
According to Gandul, months after the former PM was investigated for the shady deals that allowed him to obtain windows for his home in Bucharest, he might now be investigated for the windows of the People’s House.
Gandul also challenges the arrest of businessman Ovidiu Tender, who, it was decided, will spend another 30 days in preventive arrest under organized crime and other charges.
According to the newspaper, the prolongation of the arrest warrant is in serious breach of the Romanian criminal code and might lead to a new case against the country at the European Court for Human Rights.
On the bird flu front, Cotidianul reports that the European Commission is annoyed with a decision by Romanian authorities to reject its offer of technical assistance in combating the H5N1 virus that has spread across the country.
The newspaper quotes Philip Tod, spokesman for the Health Commissioner, who said the refusal was “indirect” as Romanian authorities avoided an explicit answer to the EC offer.
And it also quotes a “Commission source” who said a recent and controversial Romanian Intelligence Service report on the sources of the bird flu outbreak has produced an extremely negative reaction in Brussels.
Tod is quoted by Adevarul as well, saying that the Bucharest refusal left the Commission without the necessary information on the bird flu situation in Romania, which is worrisome for the entire Union.