The 2018 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), reflects growing animosity towards journalists. Hostility towards the media, openly encouraged by political leaders, and the efforts of authoritarian regimes to export their vision of journalism pose a threat to democracies, the report reads.
In 2018, Romania occupies 44th place, climbing two places as compared to the previous year, standing in front of the United States.
“The media has been increasingly transformed into political propaganda tools (particularly in election years) where excessive politicization of the media, corrupt financing mechanisms, editorial policies subordinated to owner interests, and intelligence agency infiltration of staff have become the new normal. The media environment has also been affected by the activities of far-right groups linked to the Orthodox Church – itself partly state-funded – that are openly opposed to press freedom. A bill proposed by Liviu Dragnea, president of the chamber of deputies and leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, would penalize denigration of Romania abroad and reintroduce defamation into the criminal code. It has fuelled concern about political censorship of the media,” the RSF report reads.