Another step toward autocracy: Dragnea wants to control independent media. G4Media.ro’s position
Liviu Dragnea has announced that he is requesting the Dăncilă government to elaborate a bill on „the transparency of funding and the modalities of spending money” practiced by online publications. Dragnea announced the project in an interview with Romania TV during which he had been asked a question related to Dan Voiculescu’s request that secret services and the government investigate the funding of several online publications, including G4Media.ro.
„I think Mr. Voiculescu is right and I know that the subject was broached a few months ago and it unleashed a big scandal. Why shouldn’t we allow ourselves to think about it? It is not possible that some push for transparency while refusing to be inspected themselves.
Any firm in Romania is transparent. The government should elaborate a draft law on the transparency of funding and how the money is spent. Why should these things be secret? There is talk in the public space of covert firms? If the money flows legally, where is the bother? „Liviu Dragnea said on Sunday at RTV.
Liviu Dragnea is officially the third man in the State, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, but unofficially, he is considered the most powerful man in Romania, who de facto controls the Government.
This is the second time the SDP president explicitly asks for G4Media.ro to be investigated.
On May 13, Liviu Dragnea asked the authorities to do an inquest into the journalist Dan Tăpălagă because G4Media.ro had revealed that the Dăncilă Government had discussed a secret memorandum on the move of the embassy in Israel. The author of the article was not Dan Ţăpălagă, but Cristian Pantazi.
„I heard about that memorandum in the public space, on the very day it was adopted, because it is a confidential document. I would like to ask the question – I have heard of Mr. Dan Tăpălagă, the great journalist, of G4, or whatever it is called, who has released this information, that the Government has adopted a confidential memorandum with that content – where did he get that information? Do the Secret Services or the STS have any explanation on this? Is this not as a security incident? Who amongst government officials, or members of the Government, leaked this information? I did not have it, „Dragnea said on May 13 at RTV.
Liviu Dragnea’s obsession with the journalists who criticize him has existed for a long time. On September 19, 2017, the SDP leader responded to criticisms made by Dan Tăpălagă to the SDP exactly as he does today: “Who, that guy who said he was sitting with his teeth in our throat? First of all, let him reveal all the sources of funding, for his the site, and for him personally ”
We remind that Liviu Dragnea has previously used state institutions for personal pressures against the press: the Anti-Fraud Directorate 2017 controls at HotNews.ro and Rise Project. Documents recently posted by Gelu Diaconu, the former head of the National Fiscal Authority show that both controls were based either on false documents (Rise Project case) or on a deeply arbitrary motivation (HotNews.ro case).
Dragnea, as well as Dan Voiculescu, are disturbed by the fact that G4Media.ro and the other publications named by the founder of Antena 3 (Newsweek, PressOne, DacNews, the Commissioner and EpochTimes) are among the latest media outlets that are constantly publishing business inquiries into SDP leaders and their families.
G4Media.ro has written extensively about the Dragnea family’s pigs business, the Tel Drum involvement in contracts with the state, on how Liviu Dragnea uses state institutions for his own use, and revealed for the first time the government’s intention to move Romania’s embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Liviu Dragnea’s statements are another attempt to intimidate journalists daring to do their job.
In a media landscape dominated by the media trusts close to the SDP, small independent publications such as G4Media.ro are a provocation for corrupt political leaders, regardless of their party. This is all the more serious as the SDP wants to silence even the few critical voices remaining in the press.
The SDP, through Liviu Pleşoianu and Şerban Nicolae, has also tried to hinder the work of NGOs and, consequently, their publications. Liviu Dragnea’s request to his government is yet another step towards the suffocation of civil society and the free press, a pattern that has spread from Russia to Turkey, going through Hungary.
G4Media.ro firmly rejects Liviu Dragnea’s attempt to associate us with an occult agenda, as we reject the assertion that we would support a politician or another. We do our job as any media institution should do: paying attention to power imbalances, constantly watching how public money is spent, and how state institutions work.
G4Media.ro welcomes any attempt to bring more transparency to the way public institutions and state-owned companies operate, which manage public funds or public assets. With regard to the transparency of funding and how money is spent by NGOs, we believe that existing legislation gives any state institution the right to control these issues, just as with any private company.
Any attempt to hinder the activity of civil society – which is anyway blighted by chronic underfunding and bureaucratic barriers – can only be done in accordance with European legislation and the position of the Venice Commission expressed in the case of the project initiated by Liviu Pleşoianu.
In any case, G4Media.ro will continue to analyze and investigate the way in which the Power exercises its tasks. We rely on our readers, who have always been around for support and solidarity.
G4Media will report any abuse of power to international organizations that defend the independence of the press and will report to the European Parliament this serious sideslips against independent media in the context of debates on the state of the rule of law in Romania. G4Media.ro has initiated talks on possible actions in court, given the pressures, abuses and constant harassment that journalists are subjected to by the representatives of the government.
Traducerea: Ruxandra Stoicescu
Donează lunar pentru susținerea proiectului G4Media
Donează suma dorită pentru susținerea proiectului G4Media
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