“At this moment, the Ombudsman actually deals a very nasty blow to the government of Romania,” Realitatea TV journalist Rares Bogdan said.
The Ombudsman yesterday challenged at the Constitutional Court (CC) the emergency ordinance (OUG) on insolvency, invoking the non-conformity of some of its regulations with article 1 paragraph 5 and article 15 paragraph 2 of the Constitution. In his appeal, the Ombudsman directly raised the non-constitutionality exception of article 81 paragraph 3 and article 348 of the OUG on the Insolvency Code. “At this moment, the Ombudsman deals a very nasty blow to the government of Romania. The Constitutional Court will certainly do it too. It is a moral history of the Romanian press against the unprecedented aggression of the government, of politicians,” journalist Rares Bogdan mentioned, quoted by realitatea.net. Tuesday evening, political consultant Cozmin Gusa (shareholder in Realitatea TV) commented the attempt of PM Victor Ponta and businessman Sebastian Ghita to close Realitatea TV using the new Insolvency Code: “We have a very greedy premier. He and Sebastian Ghita spread the rumour that they are protected by the civilian chief of SRI, George Maior. Victor Ponta is ready to step on dead bodies in order to achieve his plan in power.”
Former premier Emil Boc described as “a dirty trick” what the government did with the Insolvency Code, by refusing a public debate and preferring to adopt it by OUG, as the target of the Code is “to destroy the mass-media and compromise the companies in difficulty.”
The Ombudsman has asked the Constitutional Court, by attacking the emergency ordinance on insolvency, to say whether it is constitutional or not for all citizens to pay taxes. “I believe the Constitutional Court’s decision will give a very clear message to what extent we in Romania are divided solely into those that respect the law and those that don’t, not into those that pay taxes and are taken for fools and those that don’t pay taxes and believe are smarter,” Ponta told the ministers during the government’s meeting yesterday.
The Ombudsman’s decision to challenge the ordinance at the CC was no surprise, given the chief of this institution, Crisu Anastasiu said that the possibility of raising an exception of non-constitutionality over the Insolvency Code was being analysed ever since the end of last week.
Article 81 of the emergency ordinance passed by the government on October 2 stipulates that “If the debtor’s activity falls under the incidence of the provisions of the Law of the Audiovisual, following the opening of the procedure and until the date when the reorganisation plan is confirmed, the audiovisual license will be suspended as of the date when the National Council of the Audiovisual receives the notification.” The ordinance also provides that “the reorganisation plan will mention the conditions of exerting the right to broadcast a certain service of programmes in a determined zone, and the conditions will be subject to prior approval by the National Council of the Audiovisual.”
The government justified the adoption of the OUG with the conditions of the present economic context, which make it necessary to take rapid measures aimed at creating the legal and administrative prerequisites to increasing the efficiency of economic operators, improving the security of the economic circuit and the attractiveness of the Romanian market.
The ordinance also came under fire from President Traian Basescu, PDL, and the Romanian Union of Judges, which requested Monday to the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) to notify the Ombudsman in order to subject the Insolvency Code to the control of CC, as it blatantly disregards the provisions of article 115 of the Constitution that limits the situations when the government may issue emergency ordinances. The provisions of article 81 of the Insolvency Code were also criticised by several NGOs, including ‘Reporters without Borders,’ ActiveWatch and the Centre for Independent Journalism, which consider that this Code endanger the freedom of the press, are restrictive, instate a discriminatory regime and create conditions for possible abuses.
Transcripts: Ghita asks Ponta to make rating on his TV
According to the transcript of a discussion between Sebastian Ghita and Sorin Ovidiu Vintu, dating back from 2011, made public by Ziare.com and quoted by realitatea.net, Ghita asked Victor Ponta, when he was a shareholder in this TV channel, to come to Realitatea TV in order to make rating, and he obeyed. “(…) I told Ponta <