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The Parliament rejected the Broadcasting Council’s activity report. The BC members have been dismissed

11 November 2021
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The Parliament rejected the 2020 activity report of the Broadcasting Council (BC) at the plenary meeting of November 11, after the parliamentary commission on the media issued a recommendation to the plenary Parliament meeting and the commission on legal issues proposed a draft decision in this regard. The specialized commission heard the BC report for the second time this year after new provisions entered into force, allowing the dismissal of BC members if the document is rejected by the plenum of the Parliament.

At the beginning of the meeting, the MP Adrian Lebedinschi from the parliamentary faction of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BCS) proposed postponing the hearing of the BC’s activity report. According to him, the debates organized in the specialized commission took place in the absence of BC members, thus violating legal procedures. “I am warning you for the future: Article 87 provides that the Parliament’s rejection of the annual activity report entails the dismissal of members of the Broadcasting Council. In order to avoid lawsuits in the future for violating the procedure, I suggest we should examine this issue next week,” he said.

The head of the specialized commission, Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei, replied that discussions in the commission do not necessarily involve the presence of BC members, noting that the latter had been invited but did not attend the meeting. “Debating means subjecting issues, in this case the report, to discussion. The report has been debated. Now it is to be examined in the plenum,” she said. 

Subjected to the vote, the proposal of the MP Lebedinschi was rejected by the majority.

The BC head Ala Ursu-Antoci presented the report to the plenum, saying she started her work in the BC in August 2020 and became head of the BC towards the end of the year. According to her, the BC examined all notifications that had come to it and applied fines in accordance with the law.

Several MPs from the PAS faction voiced criticism against the BC. “What the commission on education and the media does not know, because it has never crossed the BC’s threshold, is that the BC is poorly equipped. We do not have monitoring software and we have only five monitors with a salary of 4,500 MDL,” Ala Ursu-Antoci replied.

Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei said that the activity report was presented to the commission towards the end of this February and heard at the commission’s meeting at the beginning of March, “without having been registered and without a decision being issued.” She said that the specialized commission requested the BC’s activity report in order to be registered for further examination at a plenary meeting.

Liliana Nicolaescu-Onofrei noted that, after examining the BC’s activity report, most members of the commission found that the BC “failed to ensure compliance by providers and distributors of media services with the requirements of ensuring impartiality, balance and favoring the free formation of opinions in the contents of audiovisual programs, especially during the electoral campaigns that took place in 2020.” She added that civil society had pointed out to the BC the importance of self-notification and detection of law violations and the application of sanctions in relation to media service providers. “The BC ignored these recommendations, neglecting the principle of ensuring correct information. The BC adopted unfair decisions following the examination of petitions and notifications,” the MP added.

The MP Vasile Bolea from the BCS said in this context that, through this mechanism, the country leadership “wants to seize” the Broadcasting Council, too.

After examination of this issue in the plenum, the members of the Commission on Legal Issues, Appointments and Immunities examined the draft decision on the rejection of the BC’s activity report for 2020. The head of the commission, Olesea Stamate, said that, by a majority vote of the members, the draft decision to reject the BC’s activity report for 2020 was approved, citing as a reason the fact that the BC failed to perform properly. “The commission examined the draft that provides for the rejection of the BC’s activity report and the dismissal of the BC members by law on the date of entry into force of the decision,” Olesea Stamate said. She added that the decision can be challenged in court within the time limit provided by the Administrative Code.
In plenary meeting, 55 MPs voted to adopt this draft, and so the provision on the dismissal of BC members entered into force.