EFJ Says Romania Media Is under Siege after Release of Damning Report

The European

Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional group of the International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today expressed its support to Romanian

journalists following the publication of a devastating report on the state of

Romanian journalism by the Romanian Federation of Journalists MediaSind (RFJ

MediaSind.)

The report claims

that since the start of the economic crises up to 6000 journalists and media

workers have lost their jobs, that journalists are being forced to renounce

their contracts in favour of royalty payments,

and that the union is fighting over fifty cases against illegal and

indiscriminate dismissals.

"Romanian journalism

is under siege from the country's economic woes and employers' greed,"

said EFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "The future of the profession is in

serious danger. Employers and the authorities must take immediate action to

preserve professional journalism and confront the crisis for democracy and

press freedom."

Cristi Godinac, Chair of

MediaSind described Romanian journalism as having "one foot in the grave,"  and believes the substitution of contracts

for royalties will have a devastating impact on the quality of the profession

allowing journalists to be hired and fired at will.

The report also damns

the government for its new tax on royalties introduced this July which will further

punish the journalists who were forced to accept these payments.

The report identifies

Adevarul Holdings as the most notorious offender of journalists' rights, but

also criticizes a range of Romanian media including Realitatea TV, Evenimentul Zilei, România Liber?, as well

as the Cotidianul, Ziua, Business Standard, which are no longer being

published, as guilty of mistreating their journalists. In addition to the fifty

legal cases, the union filed a petition with the National Council for Combating

Discrimination and is involved in a labour dispute filed with the Ministry of

Labor against a publisher.

The EFJ condemns

media employers for the forced pay cuts and the replacement of salaries with

royalty payments that leaves journalists without any social and professional

protection. In condemning the practice, RFJ MediaSind said "sadly most

journalists bite the bullet and accept the compromise, faced with rent, bank

payments and household expenses, forgetting that these royalty contracts can be

amended and/or terminated at any time."

"It is not just in

Romania where journalists are being scandalously mistreated by overzealous

employers," said Arne Konig, EFJ President. "The economic downturn and the

technologic transformation in journalism is being used as a cover for blatant attacks

on journalists conditions that threatens the foundations of European

democracy."

The EFJ is

considering sending a mission to Romania to support RFJ MediaSind and to fully

investigate the situation.

For

more information contact the EFJ at + 32 2 235 2215 

The EFJ represents over

250,000 journalists in over 30 countries across Europe