Amidst Romania's Super Election Year, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners unveil their latest mission report, delving into the pressing issues surrounding media freedom in the country. To engage on this crucial topic, join our webinar today , 4 April, at 2 PM CET.

Romania faces a year of intense political campaigning as the country organises European and local elections in June, presidential elections in September and parliamentary elections in December. 

Against this backdrop, the MFRR partners conducted an online fact-finding mission in Romania to assess the state of media freedom in the country. Meetings with Romania-based journalists, regulators, civil society groups, and lawyers were held in January 2024, with a follow-up mission planned for June in Bucharest. 

This report summarises the findings of the first mission. 

The report highlights key challenges facing Romanian journalists and media including:

  • The corrosive influence of political party funds on media coverage
  • An alarming trend of vexatious SLAPP lawsuits on the media
  • A rising tide of online harassment against journalists and their sources

The report includes recommendations for authorities and policymakers to reduce media capture, improve journalist safety, and prevent legal harassment of the press. Urgently needed measures range from:

  • Ensuring full transparency of political funds in media and ending the abuse of state advertising
  • A public broadcast law reform bill, to ensure that public media are fully independent and guaranteed the financial resources to fulfil their mandates
  • Creation of an ‘Anti-SLAPP’ working group to lead advocacy efforts aiming to improve protection from vexatious lawsuits
  • Appropriate training on journalists’ safety, along with a reform of police and judicial practices, through government action and collaboration with media stakeholders

These reflect landmark recent legislation from the European Union, such as the European Media Freedom Act and the Anti-SLAPP Directive , aimed at protecting media independence and journalists' rights.

This report was produced by MFRR partners. Our work underscores our collective commitment to defending press freedom and fostering an independent media ecosystem during a super electoral year, in Romania and beyond.

To engage with these crucial issues, the MFRR coalition partners will host a webinar on 4 April at 2 PM CET, providing a platform for stakeholders to delve into the findings and recommendations. Journalists, policymakers, civil society actors, and concerned citizens are encouraged to join this dialogue on media freedom in Romania.

Tags: Romania Media freedom Media pluralism Safety of journalists SLAPP Media capture

This content is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response  (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. The project is co-funded by the European Commission.