The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European regional group of the International Federation of Journalists, supported its Romanian affiliate MediaSind in their struggle against the infringing the labour legislation at Romanian Television Society (RTvS) and continuous ban of Romanian public television in Moldova.
“Public broadcasters should set standards for the industry including standards for social and professional matters” said EFJ Chair Arne König. “We condemn this behaviour and we call on the management of RTvS to respect their duties towards the staff”
Under Romanian law it is illegal for a company to “stipulate rights weaker than those received through collective labor agreements at a higher level.” However, RTvS, says it is exempt from this agreement because past mismanagement has hurt it financially.
RTvS has also tried to discredit and intimidate union activists who have been critical of the broadcaster by circulating fake documents attributed to union members.
MediaSind has filed suit against the administration of RTvS, saying in its complaint that the failure to adhere to Romanian labour legislation has harmed the quality of programmes offered to the public.
The union says that by flouting these basic standards RTvS “risks…bankruptcy, the breach of collective labor agreements negotiated between social partners, political battles and, not less important, diminishing the credibility” of Romanian public service broadcasting.
Romania’s public broadcaster is in critical condition, says the EFJ, and government authorities and RTvS management need to address it rapidly.
Separately, MediaSind has been campaigning in support of RTvS’s channel TVR1 in Moldova, where the authorities have banned broadcast of its programmes.
MediaSind and the Journalists’ Union of Moldova have backed a court case launched in November 2007 against the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual of Republic of Moldova, which imposed the ban. Both unions have protested against the ban.
The EFJ believes that RTvS should act in good faith with MediaSind, which has supported the broadcaster in its attempts to return its programmes to Moldova.
“The public broadcaster should treat MediaSind as a partner and find a way to protect workers’ rights and quality programming.” said König.
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in over 30 countries worldwide