Friday, October 22, 2010

Romania: Opposition blasts media leaks

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA

A former Romanian prime minister has condemned the publication of private phone conversations between journalists and a powerful media owner, who is facing trial for links to a man convicted of fraud.

The recorded transcripts of conversations between journalists and Sorin Ovdiu Vantu, owner of influential Realitatea TV station were leaked and published by the Romanian media this week.

The prosecutor's office said such conversations were recorded to "illustrate the character" of the accused. It did not say how they found their way into media's hands.

The television station is critical of the government. Vantu is charged with helping a man convicted of fraud and an investigation is underway. He says the case against him is politically motivated.

Calin Popescu Tariceanu -- who was prime minister from 2004 to 2008 -- said the publication of the conversations show that Romanian justice system is based on "Big Brother" principles. Tariceanu is now in opposition.

Press freedom in Romania has declined in the past year, a report from Reporters Without Borders said this week.

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