Romanian newspapers on Thursday are outraged at the situation caused by a government decision to force people who earn money from copyright pay more contributions to the state, while it applied a very short deadline for the first such payment and did not provide the bureaucratic means for the effort. Also in the paper today: the fate of a TV channel apparently put on sale by its Turkish owners, a new twist in the Bucharest maternity ward fire case, and the situation of Rroma people sent back to Romania from France.
Several hundred thousands of Romanians - artists and journalists among others - have to stand in hours-long queues these days to fill in a series of statements on their income from copyright or other non-employment sources of revenue. That comes as the government has decided that by August 25 this year all of them have to submit these statements and, according to them, pay contributions to the health, unemployment and pensions funds or risk paying hefty fines. But authorities have not provided the bureaucratic means for that, and confusion reigns supreme among people who want to pay their dues to the state.
The situation sparked outrage in today's papers. Evenimentul Zilei reads that the documentation people have to fill in are nightmares for taxpayers, as they include sections which try their knowledge at economy: among others, what is the average salary in Romania or the gross average salary used to support the state welfare budget. And not only journalists - but many actors, painters, poets and other artists are asked such questions.
Adevarul blames the whole situation on Labor minister Mihai Seitan and finance minister Sebastian Vladescu. The paper reads that beneficiaries of income from independent activities relived the nightmare of queues of the communist era - when everybody had to stand in line for everything, from bread or meat to payment of taxes. And the paper says people in charge - ministers Seitan and Vladescu and PM Emil Boc - claimed in the meantime that they could not see any problem with the situation.
Gandul newspaper notes that while authorities claimed there was not much of a problem, but that the media caused panic with its reports on apparently non-existent queues (TV channels have been running video reports on that for days) - a minister contradicted the law on Wednesday. Minister Mihai Seitan was quoted as saying that people may be able to pay their dues to the state without a fine in the coming days as well. That statement was made despite that the new legislation mentions a strict deadline for the payment of dues - 25th of the month, and huge fines for those who fail to pay.
The same Gandul newspaper quotes singers, composers and actors who say they may even die of hunger than stand in line as if in communist times and who threaten to challenge the bill at the Constitutional Court and even the European Court for Human Rights.
Jurnalul national notes that some 500,000 Romanians are affected by the new provisions and while many of them sieged state agencies to pay their dues, nothing seemed relevant enough for Romanian ministers, who accuse the media of manipulating the information and causing havoc.
Also in the news today:
- Adevarul reports that the family of a newborn baby who died in a fire that broke out at the Giulesti maternity ward in Bucharest last week is seeking moral compensation and make people guilty of the accident - in which several babies died - pay millions of euro.
- Adevarul also reports that the week evolution of the media industry in Romania and consistent losses reported by TV channel Kanal D prompted the Turks at Dogan Media to consider a withdrawal from this country. According to information obtained by Adevarul, they already named a company to look for potential buyers for Kanal D, a channel launched three years ago.
- And Evenimentul Zilei reports that some 4,000 Romanian citizens have been repatriated from France since the start of 2010, according to official statistics. It notes that despite international criticism French authorities decided to continue the policy of repatriating Rroma people back to Romania.