Good news a must in Romania

2008-06-26 07:20

Bucharest - Upbeat news would have to make up half of all newscasts on all of Romania's radio and television stations, under legislation adopted unanimously on Wednesday in the senate.

"News programmes on TV and radio shall contain, in the same proportion, news with positive and negative themes," states the legislation, which is going to President Traian Basescu for adoption.

The measure is the idea of two senators - one from the governing National Liberal Party, the other from the far-right Great Romania party - who bemoan the "irreversible effect" of negative news "on the health and life of people".

Its aim, they said, is to "improve the general climate and to offer to the public the chance to have balanced perceptions on daily life, mentally and emotionally".

It would be left to the national audiovisual council in Romania - an EU member state where the media was tightly controlled until the 1989 collapse of communism - to judge what is "positive" and "negative".

Less than impressed is the council itself, along with journalists who hope the legislation will not be promulgated.

"News is news," said council chairperson Rasvan Popescu, quoted by the Mediafax news agency.

"It is neither positive or negative. It simply reflects reality. I don't believe that the introduction of such a quantitative criteria can work. Events cannot be programmed, nor can minds."