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Romanian National Defence Strategy describes media as 'security threat'

Romanian National Defence Strategy describes media as 'security threat'
An elderly man, right, looks at protesters holding a picture that depicts Romania's President Traian Basescu as Adolf Hitler during a protest in Bucharest, Romania Tuesday, June 15, 2010.

Press freedom groups have expressed concern over the Romanian National Defence Strategy which has been adopted by the Romanian Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) and passed on to the Romanian Parliament.

The President of Romania initiated a National Defence Strategy which contained, among other things, serious allegations against the media - which is described as a security threat and vulnerability for Romania due to alleged press campaigns aimed at spreading false information about the activity of state institutions.

The document was adopted by the CSAT and passed on to the Romanian Parliament on June 23.

The National Defence Strategy has sparked reaction throughout Romania and from various international media organisations.

"It is very alarming that the President of Romania, a member country of the European Union, has issued such a strategy laying out allegations against the media instead of defending freedom of speech and democracy," said South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) Secretary-General Oliver Vujovic.

"We understand that , in Romania like in any other country, terrorism, crime and corruption pose a threat to the public and the government , but we are puzzled to hear that media could be added to a list of threats to public institutions," said European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) President Arne K├Ânig. "Media are an essential part of the democratic life; they help investigating precisely threats to the public and we hope the Romanian Presidency will realise this mistake."

Vujovic said, "It is even more worrisome that the strategy has already been adopted by the CSAT. In a democratic society the media plays an important role by informing the public about matters of public interest. The National Defence Strategy poses a threat to freedom of speech and critical reporting. SEEMO strongly condemns the statements suggesting that the media is a security threat and vulnerability for Romania, and calls on the Romanian Parliament to respect the role of the media and reject the strategy accordingly."

Date posted: June 30, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 163