Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Romania Leader to Analyse 'Good News' Bill

08 July 2008
Bucharest _ Romania’s President is to 'carefully' analyse a bill that will require radio and television stations to ensure half of their programmes cover ‘good news’, Balkan Insight has learnt.

“For sure, the President will take a decision in accordance with democratic values," the spokeperson from the Romanian presidency told Balkan Insight.

The comment came just after the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe urged Romania on Tuesday to veto legislation that would require broadcast media to dedicate half of their programmes to positive news stories.

Miklos Haraszti, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s media freedom representative, said the bill was “a severe political intrusion into editorial freedom.”

On June 26, Romania’s upper chamber the Senate unanimously adopted a bill requiring Romanian news shows to dedicate half of their programmes to ‘happy stories.’ Read more:

"News programmes on television and radio shall contain, in the same proportion, news with positive and negative themes," states the legislation, which is going to President Traian Basescu for adoption.

The measure is the idea of two senators - one from the governing National Liberal Party, the other from the far-right Great Romania party - who bemoan the "irreversible effect" of negative news "on the health and life of people."

Its aim, they said, is to "improve the general climate and to offer to the public the chance to have balanced perceptions on daily life, mentally and emotionally."

It would be left to the national audiovisual council in Romania, a European Union newcomer where media was tightly controlled until the 1989 collapse of communism, to judge what is "positive" and "negative."

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