Wednesday, May 23, 2007

IFJ accuses Romania's president of abusive, offensive conduct

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Tuesday accused Romanian President Traian Basescu of abusive and offensive conduct after he confiscated the mobile phone of a journalist and made misogynist and racist comments as an answer to her questions, the national Rompres news agency reported.

President Basescu on Monday expressed regret after having described journalist Andreea Pana a "stinking gypsy".

President Basescu was approached on Saturday, the day of the referendum, by a journalist while he and his wife were shopping in a Bucharest supermarket.

The reporter questioned Basescu on what was the expected outcome of the vote and recorded footage on her mobile phone. Basescu snatched the phone of the journalist, that was still recording, and he went away from the scene. Afterwards, in a conversation with his wife he made offensive remarks, reads the IFJ release. Subsequently, he returned the phone to the reporter and some TV stations broadcast the footage.

Such an abusive and rudely offensive conduct is unacceptable for a head of state, said Aidan White, secretary general of the IFJ. There are no excuses for such deeds, which confirm the concerns related to the risks reporters are facing when they do their job, said White.

Source: Xinhua

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