The 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Romania, published by the US State Department, shows a growing concern regarding “the excessive politicization of media, corrupt financing mechanisms, as well as editorial policies subordinated to political parties and owners’ interests”.
The report also raises the cases of harassed or threatened journalists and the restricted access to information of public interest.
Another serious issue highlighted in the report is the amounts of money paid to selected media outlets by the main political parties in order to secure pro-government coverage and to prevent coverage of certain topics of public interest.
As mentioned in the report, the Social Democrat Party (PSD) and the National Liberal Party (PNL) spent together more than €10m (US$10.7m) in 2022 and more than €12m (US$12.84m) in 2021, on such non-transparent and unethical practices.
As a result, many independent journalists and NGOs in the country warn that the Romanian media market is severely affected by uncritical coverage, censorship or self-censorship.