SEEMO to hold press freedom conference in Romania

23 September event to look at influence of politics, corruption

VIENNA, 11 September 2014 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), today announced that it will hold a one-day conference on press freedom, the influence of politics on media, and corruption on 23 September 2014 in Bucharest, Romania.

The event will be opened by Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta and by Dr. Erhard Busek, who is coordinator of the South-Eastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI), chairman of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe, former special co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and former vice chancellor of Austria.

SEEMO Secretary-General Oliver Vujovic and Marina Constantinoiu, president of SEEMO in Romania and editor in chief of the Romanian daily Jurnalul National, will also help open the event and Valeriu Zgonea, president of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania, is scheduled to attend.

During the opening ceremony, the annual Dr. Erhard Busek SEEMO Award for Better Understanding in South, Eastern and Central Europe will be presented to this year’s winner. International speakers will include Erik Csernovitz, deputy secretary general of the Central European Initiative (CEI); Joan Barata Mir, principal adviser in the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, based in Vienna; Renate Schroeder, director of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ); Ognian Zlatev, head of the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria; Vincenzo Le Voci, secretary-general of the EU’s “Club of Venice”; Sasa Lekovic, a long-time Croatian journalist and investigative reporter working in South-East Europe; Mitja Mersol, a Slovenian politician and former editor-in-chief of the daily Delo; Steven M. Ellis, IPI senior press freedom adviser; Boris Bergant, former deputy director general of RTV Slovenia and former vice-president of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU); and Ross Biggam, director general of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT).

The international guests will join Romanian journalists, editors, media experts and media directors in discussing the media situation in Romania and Europe. The discussion will focus on developments impacting press freedom, as well as media regulations, the influence of politics on the media, how the news media reports on corruption, and the current state of investigative journalism in Romania.

“The media developments in Romania are dramatic”, Constantinoiu said, announcing the event. “Romania might become the first European state without printed media in the next five to 10 years, due to drop of the advertising revenues by more than 90 percent, systematic dismantling of the distributing channels and the severe [cutting] of costs, including labour force, and constant decrease of the sold newspapers.

“Press freedom is protected by the Constitution, but weakened in practice by financial insecurity and overriding political and business interests. Romanian journalists are often disregarded by high level officials, and treated as mere ‘employees’.”

SEEMO is organising the event in partnership with the International Academy - International Media Center (IA-IMC) and the South East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO). Local partners include Radio România Actualităţi (RRA), press agency RADOR, the Romanian Association for Audiovisual Communications (ARCA), national press agency AGERPRES, Intact Media Group, the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Studies at the University of Bucharest and Stirile Televiziunea Română (TVR).

The event will take place in the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest on 23 September 2014 from 8:30 to 17:30. The official languages will be Romanian and English.

For more information and to register to attend, please contact SEEMO in Romania atmarina.constantinoiu[at] or SEEMO in Vienna at info[at]