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CANADIANJOURNALOFCOMMUNICATION,VOL26,NO1(2001)
Romania:FromTeleRevolutiontoPublicServiceBroadcasting,NationalImagesand
InternationalImage
AnneJckel(FacultyofLanguagesandEuropeanStudies,UniversityoftheWestofEngland)

Abstract:UndertheCeausescuregime,RomanianTelevisionwaspartofapowerfulpropagandamachine.The
December1989uprisingbecameknownasa"TeleRevolution"assomeofitskeymomentswerebroadcastlive.It
alsohadnegativeeffectsontheimageofthecountry.Ifreformshavebeenslow,enormouschangeshavetaken
placeintheRomanianaudiovisuallandscapeinthelast10years:aregulatoryAuthoritywassetupin1992and
audiencescannowchoosebetweentheprogramsofpublicand/orprivatebroadcasters40%ofRomanian
householdsarecabled,andsatellitetelevisionandthematicchannelsarealsogainingground.In1999,aCouncilof
EuropereportmadeseveralrecommendationsforRomania'spublicservicebroadcastingtobeanassetcapableof
promotingahighqualityaudiovisualculturalpolicy,strengtheningsocialcohesionandcontributingtorehabilitate
theimageofRomania.ThepapersuggeststhatwhileWesternersmaytakesomecreditforhelpingRomanianson
theroadtoachievetheformer,theyshouldalsotakesomeoftheblameforthedeadlockreachedonthelatter.

Rsum:SouslergimedeCeaucescu,latlvisionroumainetaitauserviced'unpuissantappareilde
propagande.Ondonnalenomde`Tlrvolution'auxvnementsdedcembre1989carsesmomentslesplus
marquantsfurentretransmisendirect.Positived'unct,unetelleretransmissioneutdesconsquences
catastrophiquesencequiconcernel'imagedelaRoumaniel'tranger.Bienquelesrformesaienttlentes,ily
aeudeschangementsimportantsdanslepaysageaudiovisuelroumaindepuislesdixderniresannes:une
autoritlgislativeestenplacedepuis1992lestlspectateurspeuventchoisirentreradiodiffuseurspublicset
privs40%desdomicilesroumainsreoiventlecbleetlatlvisionparsatelliteetleschanesspcialises
sontentraindegagnerenimportance.En1999,unrapportduConseildel'Europeafaitplusieurs
recommandationssurlaradiodiffusionduservicepublicenRoumanie,afinqu'ellepuisseraliserlesobjectifsd'une
politiqueculturelleprnantlaqualit,renforcerlasolidaritsocialeetrhabiliterl'imagedelaRoumanie.Cet
articlesuggrequelesOccidentaux,bienqu'ilspuissentsefliciterd'avoiraidamliorerlesmdiasroumains,
ontunepartderesponsabilitdanslemanquedeprogrsencequiatraitl'imagedelaRoumaniel'tranger.

BEFORETHE"1989REVOLUTION"
InRomania,allbroadcasting(radioandtelevision)operationswereundertheadministrationofasinglebody(RomanianNational
Television)between1957and1994.Inthe1980s,Ceausescu'scontroversialreconstructionplanofthecountryalongwithhisdecision
torepayRomania'sforeigndebt(morethan$12billion)beforetheendofthedecadeplungedthecountryintoadeepeconomiccrisis.
Essentialgoodsandserviceswererestricted,includingtelevision."Underthepretextofsavingpower,TVR,theonlyremaining
channel,wasreducedfrom65to15hoursoftransmissiontimeperweek....Programsmostaffectedwerenews,entertainment,and
educationalprograms"(Campeanu,1993,p.110).1Inaddition,severalofthecountry'sregionalbroadcastingstudioswereclosed.
Statetelevisionwasessentiallyusedasapoliticaltool.Disseminatingstateideologyandlegitimatingstatepolicy,TVRcouldhardly
beconsideredasourceofinformationoneitherdomesticorinternationaldevelopments:broadcastswereessentiallydedicatedto
Ceausescu,hisfamily,andtheirachievementsorconsistedofnavefiction,particularlythatofIndianorigin,thesocalledopeningto
foreignprogramming(CSA,1995).Asaresult,Romanianseagertoknowmoreaboutwhatwasgoingontriedtocatchtelevision
programsfromneighbouringcountries.ItiscertainlynocoincidencethatitwasinTimisoara,wherepeoplewereabletoreceive
foreign(HungarianandYugoslav)televisionandradio,thattheforcesofchangefinallybrokeloose.However,broadcastsfrom
TimisoaraandBucharestduringandafterthe1989Decembereventsalsoaccountformuchofthenegativeimagesthathavebeen
sodamagingtoRomaniasince.

THEVITALROLEOF"THEREVOLUTION":THEDECEMBER1989EVENTS
TheDecember1989uprisingbecameknownasa"TeleRevolution"assomeofitskeymomentswerebroadcastlive:

Ceausescu'sfatalmomentofhesitationwhen,on21stDecember,thedictatoraddressedcrowdsgatheredinthecentreof
Bucharest
thefiercefightswhichtookplaceinandaroundTVRheadquarters
theearlypublicactionsofahardcoreofinsurgentswholaterbecamethenewpoliticalliteledbyIonIliescuand
imagesofthecorpsesoftheConducatorandhiswife,Elena,aftertheyhadbeenspeedilyjudgedandexecutedonChristmasday.

Asrecenthistoryhasit,"broadcastinformationalmostturnedintoanationalneurosis"andthiswasparticularlyevidentduringthe
fivedaysandfivenightsof"livespectaclebroughtintoRomanianhouseholdsbytelevision"(Conseildel'Europe,1999,pp.7374).
Recountinghow,withinafewhoursofanappeallaunchedtoBucharestaudiences"torescuethetelevisioncentreanditsstafffrom
counterrevolutionaryforces,"thebuildingwassurroundedandprotectedbyahugecrowd,PavelCampeanuhailedthistransformation
oftelevisionviewersintoactivedemonstratorsas"evidenceoftheviewerscommunity[assuminga]newsocialfunction":thatof"an
activeagentinsocialandpoliticallife,abletoplay,incertaincircumstances,asubstantialrole"(Campeanu,1993,p.116).Yet
somethingmoresinisteralsotookplaceonlivetelevisioninthelastdaysof1989:thefalsificationofimages,andthis,asfaras
Romania'simageisconcerned,hadafargreaterimpactonviewersworldwidethantheroleplayedbytelevisionaudiencesinthe
Decemberevents.Athissocalledtrial,Ceausescuhadbeenaccusedoforderingthekillingof60,000peopleinTimisoara.Yetthe
Timisoarariots,aweekbeforeChristmas,hadresultedinafewhundredorsopeopledead.(Thereisnoexactfigure.)Thecorpsesof
theallegedvictimswereshownontelevisionallovertheworldinwhatisprobablyoneofthefirstmiscarriagesofinformationona
globalscale.(Thecorpsesshownhadbeenexhumedfromacemeteryor/andtakenfromahospitalnearbybysoldiersandSecuritate

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agentswhohaddecidedtochangesides.)Westernmediaonlylearnt"thetruth"twoweekslater.Therevelationaboutthefalsified
corpsesstunnedaudiencesworldwide.Italsohadlonganddeeplydamagingeffectsonboththeperceptionofaudiencesof
themselvesandofallimagesoriginatingfromRomaniasince.

CHANGESSINCETHEREVOLUTION:DECLINEANDUPHILLSTRUGGLE
Withinthefirstthreemonthsofthe1989uprisinganddespiteinadequatefacilities,severalprivatetelevisionstationssprangupinthe
majorcities(Frandon,1993).However,inthefewweeksthatfollowedtheDecemberevents,"theleadersofthenewlyestablished
NationalSalvationFront(FSN)usedtelevisionsoextensivelytoconsolidatetheirpowerthattheirreignwasdubbedavideocracy"
(Ionescu,199697,p.31).Eventhoughpeople'senthusiasmforbroadcastingcontinuedafter1990,thelegacyofthepast
(misinformation,manipulation,theabsenceofopposition,andmorearguablyofcriticalfaculties)proveddifficulttoefface.Yetthe
periodwasnotallbleakforpublicbroadcasting.UndertheIliescuGovernment,TVRsignedanagreementwithEuronews.(Itwasthe
firstpublicchannelfromacountryintheformerCommunistbloctobepartofaEuropeanNewschannel.)

Moreimportantly,the1992and1994BroadcastLawsestablishedalegalframeworkforbothpublicandprivatebroadcastingin
Romania.TheNationalAudiovisualCouncil(NAC)wassetupin1992toregulateallmattersconcerningradio,terrestrial,andcable
television.Describedasan"autonomous,publicauthoritytoguaranteethepublicinterestintheaudiovisualfield,"Romania'smedia
watchdogissimilartocertainWesternEuropeanmodelsinitsappointmentmethods,itsstatute,anditsrole.LikeFrance'sCSA
(ConseilSuprieurdel'Audiovisuel),theNACisresponsibleforgrantingbroadcastinglicencesandsupervisingbroadcastingactivities
throughoutthecountry.Althoughthe1992BroadcastLaw(No.48/1992)guaranteedfreedomofexpressionandforbadecensorship,
reformswereslowandstatecontroloftelevisiondidnotdisappear.Intheearly1990s,thecloserelationship2betweenthe
governmentandtheNACmayhavebeenahelpfulmechanismatatimeofeconomiccrisisbutitwasalsopronetopoliticalmisuse.3

StateTelevisionwasreorganizedunderthe1994LawsonRadioandTelevisionwithtwonationalchannelstoservepublicinterest
andguaranteepluralismandfreedomofinformation,butthegovernmentprovedreluctanttomakeconcessionstotheoppositionorto
theliberalmindedintelligentsiainaudiovisualmatters.4Astheypostponedplanstosetupanationalcommercialtelevisionstation
thathadfirstbeenmadepublicin1994,publictelevisionTVRremainedtheonlybroadcasteroperatingonanationalscale.Bythetime
ofthefalloftheIliescugovernmentin1996,publictelevision,withitstwochannelsTVR1andTVR2,hadnotfounditsindependence
fromthestate.

Yetdespitethegovernment'suseofbureaucracyanddelayingtacticstoretainitsgripontheaudiovisualmedia,privateradioand
televisionstationswitnessedanunexpectedgrowthandRomanianaudiovisualmediaprogressivelymovedtowardsamixedsystem.
Thiswasnosmallachievement:inacountryhitbylowwagesand,in1993,300%inflation,privatechannelsfounditdifficulttosecure
thenecessaryinvestmentsinequipmentandproductionandtoprovideadequatefundingfortrainingitsworkforce.

ForeignassistanceplayedapartinchangingtheRomanianaudiovisuallandscape.Itmainlyconsistedof:assistingtheRomanian
Authoritieswithharmonization(RomanianlegislationembodiesthequotarulesandobligationsoftheEuropeanTWFD)andmoving
towardsamarketeconomy(Teodorescu,1999)trainingprofessionals(halftheworkforcewererecruitedafter1990)andproviding
freeprogramsandequipment.

AmericanaidprovedmoreforthcomingthanEuropeansupport.InBucharest,forexample,TVSOTI,anindependentstudioestablished
asanonprofitableassociationin1990,wasequippedthankstoa$250,000injectionfromtheAmericancompanyInternationalMedia
Fund(Teodorescu,1999).AmericanmillionaireGeorgeSorosgavefiveproductionstudiostononprofitableorganizationsinthe
provinces.OtherforeigninvestorsincludeFrench,Hungarians,andCypriots.TVSigma,aFrancoRomanianchannel,proposed22hours
ofdailyrebroadcastsofEuropeTV5programsandtwohoursofRomanianlanguageprogramming.Hungarianshaveinvestedin
Transylvania,aregionwithalargeHungarianspeakingpopulation,andupto90%ofthecapitalofAntena1,atelevisioncompany
thatreceiveditslicencein1993,belongstoabusinesscompanyfromCyprus.

Between1993and1996,theNACgrantedwellover1,000licencestoprivateaudiovisualoperators(Conseildel'Europe,1999).Inthis
respect,itdidcontributetoreducingtheexistingstatemonopolyonradioandtelevisionandtoestablishingarealRomanian
audiovisualmarket.From1993onwards,thearrivalofthemoreambitiousprivatetelevisionchannels,Antena1(in1993),Canal31,
Mediapro(nowProTV),andTele7abc(in1994)progressivelychangedtheaudiovisuallandscape.Satellitetelevisionalsogained
groundbutthegrowthofcabletelevisionwasevenmoreastonishing:bytheendof1995,ithadreached38%ofRomanian
households(Teodorescu,1999).

PRIVATECHANNELSVERSUSPUBLICTELEVISION
ThebroadcasterthatbroughtrealcompetitiontoRomania'stwopublicchannelsforthefirsttimewasProTV,acompanywhich
startedin1993underthenameofCanal31withlocalbroadcastsintheBucharestareabutwhichrapidlyexpandedafteritwastaken
overbyCME(theCentralEuropeanMediaEnterprisesgroup)inDecember1995.TheAmericancontrolledBermudabasedmedia
concernledbyRonaldLauder"invested$20minordertoresearchhowtheAmericanmodelcouldbeadoptedinRomania....Outfitted
withthestateoftheartequipmentandWesternmentality,ProTVclimbedthechartsquicklyandreportedsatisfactoryprofitsin
1997"(Folea,199798,p.16):

Withintwoyears,itsquizandcontestdepartmentemergedasaseriousrivalfortheStatelottery,pledgingandgivingout
billionsofleiinprizes....Intheareaofpolitics,duringthe1996electioncampaign,ProTVofferedthepoliticalpartiesfree
airtime,andspentmillionsofdollarsforsatellitelinkstothemaincountriesoftheNATOaspartofthecampaigntojoin
NATO.(Ionescu,199697,p.33)

However,ProTV,undertheleadershipofAdrianSarbu(whoisalsotheheadofMediaPro,arealempireofmasscommunications),has
beencriticizedforitsaggressivebusinesspracticesaswellasforitsproWesternbiasbythesupportersoftheformergovernment
andforbribingthenationintowatchingitsprogramsandbuyingitsproductsbystagingdailygameshowsbyliberalminded

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intellectuals.5ThepracticesofProTVseemedtoconfirmMiliband'sfearthatforeigninstitutionswouldenticethepostCommunist
governmentstoderegulateandprivatizeand,wherepossible,takeadvantageoftheinexperienceofthe(newandold)localpolitical
lites(Miliband,1991).By1996,RomanianmediaanalystshadexpressedconcernaboutRomania'schangingaudiovisuallandscape:
ValentinaMarinescu(1996)pointedto"theappearanceofgreaterinequalitiesamongsocialandpoliticalgroupsasregardthe
possessionofmedia"(p.20),disprovingMcQuail'shypothesisthat"agreateraccesstomediaforallsocialandpoliticalactorsmeant
agreaterdegreeofdemocracy"(McQuail,1992,p.162).AsurveyconductedbyLucianStanciushowedthatpublicconfidenceinthe
informationprovidedbythemajortelevisionchannelshadplummetedfrom6065%intheearly1990stolessthan20%in1997.
Stanciu(199798)identified"opportunitiesformanipulationthroughtelevisionintwodirections,"maintainingthestabilityofpolitical
powersandtheconsolidationofpowerfulfinancialinterests(p.14).6

NotheorycanexplainthecomplexitiesofthetelevisionrestructuringprocessinCentralandEasternEuropebutifonehadtouse
Sparks&Reading's(1995)conceptualframework,Romanianbroadcastrestructuringwouldprobablybestfitsomewherebetween
Miliband'stheoryofsubstantivechange(1991)andCallinicos'theoryoflimitedchange(1991).

InJanuary1997,whenthenewgovernmentofEmilConstantinescutookover,publictelevisionwasnotonlyinefficientbutitssources
offundingweregreatlyinadequateanditsaudiencesfalling.7ThenewlyelectedChristianDemocratPresidentseemeddeterminedto
reformthesystemunderdemocraticprinciples.TheoldTVRmanagementteamwasdismissedandreplacedwithanewteamledby
StereGulea,aRomanianfilmmakerwithconsiderablestandingintheindustry.ConsultantsfromWesternEuropewerebroughtinto
help8andsuggestionsforcuttingcostsandimprovingstandardsweremade.Severalofthesesuggestionshavebeentakenupand
thepublicbroadcasterhassinceengagedinamodernizationprogramtowinbackpublicconfidence.

Atthesametime,competitionbetweenpublicandprivatechannelshasintensified.Publictelevisionhasanadvantageoverthe
privatechannels:whilethelatterrelyalmostexclusivelyonadvertisingforfinancing,publictelevisionreceivesfinancingfromvarious
sources:thelicencefee(approximately58%ofitsresources),advertising(26%),statesubsidy(14%),andsponsoringandother
services(2.5%)(Conseildel'Europe,1999).However,withscarceresourcesdevotedtothereconstructionofadilapidatedeconomy
(OECD,1998),Romania'sstatesubsidycanhardlybeconsideredanimportantasset.Asforthelicencefee,Romaniansarenot
renownedfordutifullypayingtheirtaxesontime...anotherlegacyofthepastinacountrywhere,nottoolongago,disobedience
towardstheAuthoritieswasasignofdemocraticsocietycitizenry.Publicbroadcastingalsofacesotherchallenges.AsTVRemployees
oftenmovetotheprivatechannels,thepublicchanneloftenactsasatraininggroundforRomaniansworkingintheaudiovisual
industries,ataconsiderablelosstothepublicsector.Greatlyaffectedbycompetition,Romanianpublicbroadcastershavetriedtowin
backratings,oftenadoptingthesameformulaeastheirprivatecounterparts.Asaresult,therehasbeenadropinthenumberof
hoursdedicatedtoculturalprogrammingandariseinthenumberoffilmsandtelevisionseriesfromtheU.S.Manypeoplefeelthat
theincreaseinthenumberofchannelsavailableandtherevampingofTVRhavenotmeantthatmorechannelsofcommunicationare
placedattheserviceofthepeople.Withasignificantreductionoflocalproductionoffiction(filmandtelevision),ofnewsmagazines
anddocumentaries,someeventalkedof"thereplacementofpoliticalcensorshipbyeconomiccensorship"(Romanianfilmmaker
LucianPintilie,quotedinJurgenson,1992,p.11).

THE1999COUNCILOFEUROPEREPORTRECOMMENDATIONS
In1999,theCouncilofEuropereportonRomania'scultureindustrieswarnedthat,withtheapplicationoffreemarketprinciplestothe
televisionsector,therewas

arealdangerofcreatinganincreasinglydividedculturallandscapei.e.,ontheonehand,theproductionandconsumption
ofastandardized[audiovisual]massculture,forthemostpartimportedandintendedforalargecaptiveaudienceand,
ontheother,reactions(whetherdeemedpositiveorotherwise)ofnationalwithdrawalorevenreligiousrevivalwith,in
themiddleoronthefringe,aculturaladministrationseekingtoperpetuatehelplessinstitutionssomehoworotherand
regardingtheincreasinglycostlyrestorationofmonumentsitsmainconcern.(Renard,1999,pp.1920)

Theyrecommendedgovernmentactioninorderto"avoidtheriskofdependencyoftheaudiovisualmediaononesinglesourceof
funding(beittheStateorprivateenterprise),"to"setouttorehabilitatepublictelevisionbymeansofafarreachingreform,"to
"enlargethescopeofmasscommunicationchannels,"andto"adoptaflexiblearrangementcombiningregularisationwithderegulation
byfavouringthedevelopmentofnewcommunicationtechnologies"(Conseildel'Europe,1999,p.94).To"avoidthemedia
consumptionmodel,"theysuggesteddeveloping"arangeofprogramsadaptedtothesocioculturalagendaofthecountry"(p.94).

AlthoughtheRomaniangovernmenthasalreadytakenstepsinthedirectionindicatedintheCouncilofEuropereport,9itisdifficultto
envisagehowsomeofthesegoalscanbeachievedinacountrywherefinancialresourcesarescarceandpeoplehavebecome
disillusionedwiththedemocraticpowersoftelevision.Intheirreport,theEuropeanexpertsnotedthatprogram"contentandquality
pos[ed]problems,becausethey[were]increasinglyinfluencedbycommercialpressures"(Renard,1999,p.21).Theproblemisnot,
ofcourse,specifictotheRomanianpublicservicebroadcaster.While,inthepast,thecontentsofprivatelyownedtelevisionstations
divergedsignificantlyfromthoseofpubliccorporationsintermsofstructureandvalues(Splichal,1995),todaythisisnolongerthe
case.EventheBBC,ahighlyrespectedandgenerouslyfundedinstitutionthathasforsolongembodiedtheconceptofpublicservice
appearstobe"trappedinanobsessionwithmarketshare"and"isbarelydistinguishablefromitsBritishprivatecounterpart"(Jenkins,
2000,p.22).Ifoffering"highqualitytelevision"10capableofinforming,educating,andentertaininghasbecomeincreasinglydifficult
fortheBBCintoday'scompetitiveglobalcommercialenvironment,whatareTVR'schancesofachievingthesamegoal?

Finally,theCouncilofEuropereportassertedthat"publicaudiovisualservicecouldalsobeanassetcapableofstrengtheningsocial
cohesion"(Renard,1999,p.21).Thismaybewishfulthinkingontheirpartbutitdoesnottakeintoaccountthedelicatesituationin
whichRomaniafindsitself.Thecountryisreconstructingitselfsociallyaswellaspoliticallyandeconomicallyand,asthereport
acknowledges,theissueofnationalidentityisnow"reemergingtogetherwiththatofrecognitionofthecountry'smulticultural
nature"(Renard,1999,p.4).AlongsidetheRomanianmajority(89.1%accordingtoofficialfigures),thepopulationofRomania
includes18officiallyrecordedminorities,amongthemHungarians(8.9%),Germans(0.4%),Ukrainians,Serbs,Croats,Russians,and

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TurksaswellasRoma(orGypsies)(Renard,1999).Notallminoritiesenjoythesamestatusanddiscriminationisparticularlyrife
againstGypsies(10%oftheRomanianpopulation).Inthiscontext,"socialcohesion"isanextremelycomplexissueandtheroleof
thepublicbroadcasterin"strengtheningsocialcohesion"aparticularlydifficulttask.NationalminoritiesparticularlyHungariansand
GermanshaveaccesstoTVR1andTVR2(withprogramsinbothlanguages,3%and5%ofallprogrammingforeachchannel
respectively).Specialprogramsforotherminorities(includingGypsies)arealsobroadcast(Conseildel'Europe,1999).However,in
recentyears,theequilibriumbetweencommunitieshaschangedtosuchanextentinsomeregionsthattheemergenceof"enclaves"
and"confinements"haveledtofearsthatextremistmovementsmayflourish(Bedros,2000,p.11).11Moreover,Romanianshave
becomedisenchanted.Thecoalitionwhichgovernedthecountryinthelate1990sbroughtdisillusionment:theChristianDemocratsof
PresidentEmilConstantinescu,theSocialDemocratsofPetreRoman,andtheliberalsandtherepresentativesoftheHungarian
minoritiesseemedtospendmoretimearguingratherthanworkingtogetheroneconomicandsocialreforms.Allthismakespublic
serviceanda"socioculturalagenda"increasinglydifficulttodefine,letalonetoimplement.

TheCouncilofEuropereportonculturalpolicyendswiththerecommendationthat"Romaniamustacquireanewinternationalimage,
asitscurrentoneisstilltoooftennegativeorindecisiveowingtopastandpresentpolitical,economicandsocialvicissitudes"
(Renard,1999,p.26).Itstressesthat"culturecanbeafundamentalelementcapableofsuggestingtheemergenceof`anotherpoint
ofview'andfacilitatingthedrawingupofanewstrategyvisvistheoutsideworld"andsuggeststhesettingupforthispurposeof
"athinktank"madeupof"leadingfiguresfromtheeconomic,culturalandtouristsectors"(p.26).

Allthisisverywell,butinternaldivisionsnotwithstanding,whattheexpertsseemtooverlookisthatthecurrent"pointofview"and
thenegativeimageofRomaniaarelargelyconveyedandconstructedbyWesternmedia.WatchingcountlessreportsonRomanian
orphanages,themistreatmentofchildrenby"illegalimmigrantsofRomanianorigin"inthecapitalcitiesofEurope,oronthepollution
ofriversinflictedbyforeignconcernsindeprivedruralareas,oneformsatotallynegativeimageofRomaniaintheyear2000.Yet
Romaniaisacountrywhichnotonlyclaimsarichhistorybuthasalsomanagedtoretainalargeculturalwealthanddiversity.
ReflectingontheabsenceofpositiveimagesofRomaniatoday,oneisremindedofCahiersduCinma'sremarksin1992whenthe
CannesFilmFestival"forgottomention"thescreeningofLucianPintilie'sTheOakinitsprogram:

ThatthisRomanianfilmhasbeenforgotten...revealsthedamagecausedbyallthe"false"imagesbroadcastsincethefall
oftheCeausescuregime.[Italsoinformson]theextenttowhichwehavebeenmanipulatedbythoseimagesandhow
muchtheyhavepreventedotherimagesfromcirculating.Itisasif,stillashamedanddismayedat"havingseennothing"of
themacabremiseenscneoftheTimisoaramassacres,andfinding[intheEast]peoplebetterthanusinthepracticeof
"realityshow",wehaddecreed"lostimages"allimagesoriginatingfromRomaniasincethen.(Nevers,1992,p.28)

WidelydisseminatedintheWest,thenegativepointofviewonRomaniahasnowenteredthenationalpsyche.Onthetenth
anniversaryofthe"Revolution,"aBucharestnewspapercomparedRomanianstocomapatientsinahospitalandwrote:"weareas
ashamedofbeingRomanianstodayaswewereinDecember1989"(Adevarul,quotedin"Roumanie:unsibruyantanniversaire,"
1999,p.27).ItseditordidnotreflectontheresponsibilityWesternpowersandmediamighthaveinthepessimismfeltbyRomanians
onthedawnofthenewmillennium.Agrosslyinsufficientreconstructionaid,promisesofentryintotheEuropeanUnionorNATO's
decisiontoincreasecooperationatthetimeoftheKosovoconflictwerenotmentionedeither.Sadly,theviewofAdevarul'seditor
wasthatRomaniawasbetteroffleavingEuropeanssortoutitsproblemratherthanlettingRomaniansdealwiththem.

CONCLUSION
ThereislittledoubtthatforeigninfluenceshavebeenandcanbesignificantintherestructuringofRomaniantelevision.Asthecase
studyshows,thedraftingofthe1992LawanditssubsequentamendmentswasinfluencedbyexistingEuropeanlegislationaswellas
byproposalsmadebyanumberofWesternconsultants.Yetforeigninfluencescanalsohavedebilitatingeffects.ViewersintheWest
arenowfamiliarwiththenewtrendofEnglishlanguagemessagesfromRomania,andothercountriesofCentralandEasternEurope:
increasingly,demonstratorsseemtodirecttheirmessagesnotatthelocalpoliticiansbuttowardstheworldmedia.Intheearlyand
mid1990s,politicalcirclesthatwerelosingpoweraccused"Westernorganisationsandfoundations"of"stagingsuchdemonstrations"
(Milev,1997,p.1Milev&Lazarova,1999,p.30).Theiraccusationsweredismissedasmerepropagandaandtodaythequestionof
whoisfinancingsuchcampaignsisrarelyaddressed.That"thepeopleofRomania,havingshedtheburdenofideologicalrepression
andfindingthemselvesfacingabatteryofmaterialproblems"are"disorientatedandvulnerable"(Renard,1999,p.4)is
understandable.Thefactthatforeigneconomicandpoliticalintereststakeadvantageofotherpeoples'vulnerabilityand/or
inexperience(Miliband,1991)isnothingnewbutitdoesnotmakeitlessacceptable.ThatWesternpowerswithalongdemocratic
traditionmayadviseonthebestwaysofachievingtherestorationofdemocraticprinciplesisonething.Itisquiteanotherforforeign
investorstodictatemediacontents(includingtelevisionnewscontents)andtotallyanotheragainfortheinternationalmedia
includingforeignpublicbroadcasterstoinfluencethewayanationseesitself.

Inaderegulatedglobalenvironmentinwhichnationalizedbroadcastinginstitutionsareindangeroflosingtheirstatusand,arguably
theirnation,thisdoesnotapplysolelytoRomanians.Bigprivateplayersintheelectronicmediahavebecomeextremelypowerful
(Collins&Murroni,1996).Identitieslikeimagesareconstantlyreconstructed,adapted,andsometimesmythifiedfromtheperspective
ofthepresentday,ofpresentinterestsandideologies.Intoday'scontextinwhichidentitiesandculturesorisitacommonculture?
arerapidlydeliveredviatelevisionandcomputerscreens,localpublicbroadcastersseemallthemorenecessary.Discussingthe
definitionofpublicservicebroadcastingthatRogerGraefgaveatanOxfordlectureinJanuary2000,SimonJenkins(2000)rightly
arguedthatthecaseforsubsidizingpublicservicebroadcastingisonlyevidentifitisrootedinculturaldistinctivenessandpluralism,
notcommercialpopulism.Itwouldbeanotherstepforwardifpublicservicebroadcastersallovertheworld,andparticularlythose
operatinginthemorewealthynationsoftheWesternworld,wouldbemoresensitivetotherepresentationsoflessprivilegednations.

NOTES
1
Duringthenotorious"Ceausescuwinters"ofthe1980s,broadcastswerereducedtotwohoursforeachofthesixworkingdays
andthreehoursonSundays.

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2
Ofits11members,2werenominatedbythePresidentofRomania,3bythegovernment,3byParliament,and3bytheSenate.
3
AnexampleofgovernmentinterferencecanbefoundinthelaunchofRomaniaInternational.Transmittedviasatelliteandaimed
atpeopleofRomanianoriginwhohaveemigrated,thechannelseemstohavebeenpartlyinitiatedtorestoretheimageof
Romaniaabroadsince,attheinaugurationceremonyonDecember1st,1995(Romania'sNationalDay),"Iliescuspokeofa
breachoftheinformationblockadeallegedlysetupagainstRomaniabyforcesinterestedindistortingthecountry'simage
abroad"(Ionescu,199697,p.31).
4
FormoreinformationontheuseofbureaucracytoblocktheappointmentofphilosopherGabrielLiceanutothemanagerial
CouncilofTVR,seeIonescu(199697).TheBroadcastbillforbadeany"defamationofthecountryandthenation"aswellas"the
disseminationofclassifiedinformation."
5
Inordertorankamongthewinners,onehastowatchthebroadcastsofProTVregularly,buythepublicationsoftheholding,
andusetheservicesofitsphonecompany(Ionescu,199697).
6
In1995,SlavkoSplichal(1995)notedthatafterdecadesofnonmarketeconomyandstatecontrolledmediaandeconomy,it
was"largelybelieved[inEastandCentralEurope]thatfreedomofownershipandparticularlyprivateownership[was]the
guarantorofdemocracy"(p.53).ThereissubstantialevidencethatRomanianmediaanalystsdidnotsharethisview.
7
TVR1sawitsratingssharefallfrom60%in1996to45%in1997(EMBF,1997).
8
ABBCteamsuggestedtosplitpublictelevisioninfourentities:TVR1,TVR2,TVRInternational,andafourthcompanyresponsible
forvideoproduction(Teodorescu,1999).
9
"Thetransformationofstructuresandmanagementmethods"andthe"drawingupofabusinessplan"havebeentakenupby
StereGuleaandhisteam.Therecommendationtoestablishasystemfortaxingtheadvertisingreceiptsoftheprivatechannels
hasalsobeenadopted.Asfarasnewtechnologiesdevelopmentsareconcerned,by1998,RomTelecomhadjointventureswith
French(Alcatel),Scandinavian(EricssonandNortel),andKoreanequipmentandcommunicationcompanieswhileother(German,
Greek,American)operatorswereshowinginterest.
10
TheauthoragreeswithSimonJenkins(2000)thatpublicbroadcasting"mustbeseparatefromcommercialbroadcastingorithas
nopoint"(p.22).Itmustoffer"publicserviceofraredistinction"andshouldbroadcast,inprimetime,gooddramas,
documentaries,anddiscussions(p.22).
11
Miliband'sconceptualizationofnationalistdynamicsinpostCommunistEuropeansocietiesledtosimilarconcerns.

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