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The commission for the media recommends the Parliament to reject the BC’s activity report for 2020. Members of the BC are under risk to be dismissed

10 November 2021
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The parliamentary commission for the media recommends the Parliament to reject the annual activity report of the Broadcasting Council (BC) for 2020. This is the second time this year when MPs have heard the BC’s report, and they did so after the provisions that allow dismissing BC members if the report is rejected by the plenum of the Parliament entered into force. Only one member of the BC participated online in the November 10 meeting of the specialized parliamentary commission.   

The head of the commission, Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei, noted that she had sent two invitations to the Broadcasting Council in order to hear the regulator’s 2020 activity report. According to her, BC representatives said they would not be able to participate because several BC employees had been tested positive for Covid-19. They also rejected the repeated invitation to attend an online meeting. “We understand that this is, in fact, a rejection of our invitation,” Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei said.

The BC member Lidia Viziru, who attended the online meeting, said she could not present the activity report because it is the duty of the BC president.

Deputy head of the commission, Socialist MP Adela Răileanu, noted that the BC’s activity report for last year had already been examined in March. “I cannot vote twice on the same report, for or against. I believe we analyzed this report in March, held the voting procedure, and the meeting where this procedure took place is posted on the Parliament’s website,” Adela Răileanu argued.

Another deputy head of the commission, PAS party MP Virgiliu Pâslariuc, noted that the repeated hearing was necessary because of the amendments made to the Code of Audiovisual Media Services. According to the new provisions, after the hearing, the specialized parliamentary commission is to present to the Parliament a report, and the rejection of this document by the plenary meeting entails the legal dismissal of the Broadcasting Council.

Pâslariuc believes that the sanctions applied by the BC in 2020 “were unconvincing” and that it “failed to meet” its obligations to ensure the right of citizens to receive correct information. “The number of such cases is growing. The BC is responsible for the application of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services.”

“So, we need to have a BC that works strictly according to a certain system. There some televisions that are good – the word ‘good’ is in fashion now – and some televisions that are not,” Adela Răileanu said. “Especially for this BC, at first, some televisions were good, then others became good. (...) They [members of the BC] have changed their political color twice, and we don’t want a third time,” Virgliu Pâslariuc replied.

Other MPs representing PAS were also critical of the BC’s work. Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei mentioned that the BC “neglected” some notifications from civil society, and some media service providers were “fined selectively”. “In my opinion, the situation with the BC’s duties, as they should be performed according to the Code, is not satisfactory enough so that we could approve this report,” Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei said.

Her proposal to recommend to the plenum to reject this document was supported by seven members of the commission. Two MPs abstained.