CNA boss heard by Lower Chamber after shocking recordings surface

In the recordings Laura Georgescu states she protects Sebastian Ghita and his television station Romania TV, admitting at the same time that she wants to profit from extending this “favour.”

A new scandal is about to rock the Romanian media, having National Audiovisual Council (CNA) President Laura Georgescu at its centre. On Monday evening Realitatea TV broadcast a series of audio recordings, claiming they show CNA boss Laura Georgescu admitting that she is lenient towards television channels that are close to Premier Victor Ponta.
In a first recording, the CNA boss talks about the fact that she “protects that idiot Ghita and Romania TV” (PSD MP Sebastian Ghita is the owner of Romania TV – editor’s note), and admits that she wants to profit from extending this favour. In the recordings she can be heard calling Georgica Severin, the head of the Senate’s Culture Commission, a cur. “That cur Georgica Severin forced me to give the floor to them. I am going mad that you’re asking me to cover for idiot Ghita and Romania TV and you’re not taking advantage of…,” Laura Georgescu says according to the recording. In another recording, the CNA boss talks about the possible sponsoring, in the form of laptops, of the institution. “Won’t you sponsor us with some laptops? Won’t you make a donation for us? 5 laptops! That’s a rip-off bro, I swear, it’s at market price! I don’t know, 1-7, 1,700, how much is it? (…) I’m an idiot, buying laptops with money for the institution, when we could have obtained them differently, I have so many people indebted to me, don’t you understand what I’m explaining to you?,” Laura Georgescu says in another recording.
Realitatea TV did not mention with whom she was having the discussion. Laura Georgescu has so far not confirmed that she is the one heard in the recordings. She will be heard this morning within the Lower Chamber’s Culture Commission. A hearing had already been scheduled for the end of August within the Senate’s Culture Commission.
Last week CNA member Narcisa Iorga revealed several recordings in which Laura Georgescu could be heard using inappropriate language in front of a group of pupils in a Bucharest school, at an event that was part of the “Different School” program.
After those recordings were revealed, several journalists asked for Laura Georgescu’s resignation through an online petition which stresses “the inappropriate language, incompatible with a high state official whose office is associated with that of a minister.” The petition asked the government “to take responsibility for promoting Laura Georgescu to this office” and the Parliament and its special commissions “to urgently meet in order to debate this case.” Alexandru Raducanu, a journalist whose request for a business television channel license was rejected twice this year, and Realitatea TV journalist Rares Bogdan were among the first to sign the online petition.
Georgica Severin stated yesterday that he has asked Laura Georgescu to resign from the office of National Audiovisual Council President “and, why not, from the CNA.” According to him, his request did not come solely because of the words the head of CNA used, but also because of “her statements on how the institutions, how the state works, on blackmail, on the story with the laptops.” Georgica Severin pointed out however that he does not know what the CNA boss referred to when making those statements about him, labelling as “insolence” the way in which the statements about Romania TV were reflected in the recordings broadcast on Realitatea TV, because, according to him, “one can hear the editing.”
PDL MP Alin Tise also asked for Georgescu’s emergency resignation, “not because she talks like that, but because in that recording she talks about the fact that she allegedly protects a person and a television channel, talks about why shouldn’t she take laptops from persons she protects.”
In his turn, former PNL President Crin Antonescu believes that the recordings featuring CNA boss Laura Georgescu give an exact and pathetic measure of the important institutions in Romania. “It’s another one of the recordings that give us the exact and pathetic measure of important institutions in the country we are living in, of the unacceptable, disgusting infiltration of political, partisan pressure within the institutions that should ensure a balance in such an important domain,” Antonescu said.

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