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Over 6,000 journalists and media workers have lost jobs since downturn

Over 6,000 journalists and media workers have lost jobs since downturn

Since the start of the economic crisis, up to 6000 journalists and media workers in Romania have lost their jobs, journalists are being forced to renounce their contracts in favour of royalty payments, and the main journalists union in the country is fighting over 50 cases against illegal and indiscriminate dismissals.

"Romanian journalism is under siege from the country's economic woes and employers' greed," said European Federation of Journalists (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 Romanian Federation of Journalists MediaSind (RFJ 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 union recently published a report on the state of journalism in the country. 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 criticises a range of Romanian media including Realitatea TV, Evenimentul Zilei, România Liberă, as well as the Cotidianul, Ziua, Business Standard, which are no longer being published, as guilty of mistreating their journalists. In addition to the 50 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.

EFJ condemned 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." EFJ is considering sending a mission to Romania to support RFJ MediaSind and to fully investigate the situation.

Date posted: September 1, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 156