The crisis that lead to thousands of layoffs in the mass media sector and to media owners in the spotlight are among the most important traits of the evolution of mass media in Romania in 2010, the recent FreeEx report on the freedom of the press reads. The report reviews all events that had an impact on the freedom of the press last year and shows, among others that “moguls became more than ever the stars of their own media institutions” and “the relevant editorial content is on the verge of extinction”.

The report shows that the media market, severely affected by the crisis, was also recorded to have political and other obscure interest intermingling in the editorial activities of some publications which had negative consequences for the business environment as well.

The evolutions with the greatest impact on the freedom of the press in the last year in the FreeEx report:

  • Massive lay offs in the media sector since the crisis started, many local newspapers closed and publicity revenues dropped so as the number of readers for each newspaper  

  • Media moguls were in the center of the political debates: Sorin Ovidiu Vantu was retained for favoring a felon, Dan Diaconescu was accused of blackmail, Dan Voiculescu was proven to have collaborated with the Secret Communist Securitate services. The press related the events in a hysterical way  

  • The relevant editorial content is about to disappear, suffocated by the hysterical, harassing, partisan opinion journalism Televisions transformed the death of public figures in macabre spectacles, a direct result of the degradation of the professional press  

  • Authorities and politicians promoted legislative initiatives with a negative impact on the freedom of the press and press independence that were not adopted 

  • The law regulating the public radio and television was not reformed  

  • The press was included among vulnerabilities to national security 

  • The constitutional court wanted to classify wealth information of politicians and public figures