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Oxford Analytica study: ROMANIA: Media no longer play positive political role

de C.B.
Luni, 7 septembrie 2009, 18:10 English | Regional Europe

Oxford Analytica published an article on August 27, detailing the Romanian mass-media environment. It attracted a series of reactions in certain mass-media circles. With the OXAN editors' consent from London, here are the main points of the Oxford Analytica study.  

"ROMANIA: Media no longer play positive political role

President Traian Basescu is under fire in the media as he faces re-election later in the year. His previously high poll ratings have been slipping in the face of mounting public disillusionment with all politicians as the economic crisis bites."

ANALYSIS: "The low prestige enjoyed by most parties contending for office after 1989 gave the media in Romania a visibility and importance they lacked in other transition states. The press in particular played a key role in ensuring the transfer of power from the former Communists, now called the Social Democrats (PSD), to their opponents in 1996 and 2004.

Media scene. The character of the media has since changed. (...) The national media are starting to resemble the local media. In most provincial cities, local and regional leaders active in business and politics control the press and television. They have sought to exercise a local media monopoly in order to boost their economic interests and political careers, attack their chief opponents and drive any independent opponents put of business. Control of advertising revenue and distribution outlets has put them in a very strong position. (...)

Media moguls. Sorin Ovidiu Vintu owns Realitatea TV, the most-watched rolling news channel. This year, his outlet joined two other main media trusts in regularly attacking Basescu, whose supporters have not been given time. (...)

  • Dan Voivulescu, a politician with a background in foreign trade in the communist era, who has been allied to the PSD for over a decade, owns the most-watched television channel, Antena.
  • Dinu Patriciu, the third media mogul, is Romania's wealthiest businessman and a former National Liberal Party (PNL) deputy. He became the leading figure in the energy sector (...) when much of it was hurriedly privatised after 2001."

The report goes on to talk about President Basescu accusing the media for attacking his person and his family, about sensationalist programming and the curtailing of investigating journalism. The study concludes:

"Owning to the failure of reform in many areas of the national life, the effort to consolidate the independent media as a 'progressive' force in a fragile, young democracy has failed. Instead, most of the media has been captured by moguls who seem determined to use it to influence policy in their own interest."

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