Stelian Tanase, still interim head of TVR

The plenum of the Parliament passed Tuesday evening, with an overwhelming majority (327 votes
to 14) the list with the titular and interim members of the Board of Administrators (CA) of TVR,
but the vote for the chairman of the Board was not held anymore.

The chairman of the meeting, Miron Mitrea announced that the chairman of the CA of TVR will not be elected Tuesday and the interim chairman will hold this office until the moment when the procedure will take place. Under legal provisions, CA of TVR comprises 13 people, designate by vote of the majority of deputies and senators, in joint session of the two House. Following the vote passed Tuesday evening, the new members of the TVR Board are: Stelian Tanase and Andrei Muraru – PNL, Claudiu Branzan and Catalin Plebea – PSD, Radu Carp – PDL, Adrian Bucur – PC, Eduard Dumitrascu – PPDD, Romina Surugiu – Presidency, Debreczeni Hajnalka -UDMR, Corneliu Calota – Government and Raico Cornea – minorities. Two more members of the VA of TVR should represent the employees of the institution.
CA is the body that will propose the president general director of TVR, who also needs to be voted by the plenum of the Parliament. The name that is credited with most chances is that of Stelian Tanase, the acting interim director of TVR. “Romania Libera” wrote yesterday that, by accepting Tanase as head of TVR, PM Victor Ponta would “hit two birds with one stone,” as he would thus prove his openness for the restoration of the Social Liberal Union (USL) and also will have at the top of the institution someone who depends on the government, in the context of the problematic financial situation of the public television. Speculation or not, Stelian Tanase said during hearing with the committees of Culture, that the public television is in big trouble, with debts that amount to EUR 159 M. “The public television was outperformed by its rivals, it was brought in a difficult situation even in regard to the law,” Tanase mentioned, adding that from 100 pc its audience collapsed to under 1 pc. Tanase added that a reason of this collapse is the loss of credibility, because of the idea that the change of the formula in Parliament will also determine a modification of the editorial policy.
Stelian Tanase was appointed interim general director of TVR by the Parliament at the end of last year. The former Board of TVR, led by the ex-president general director of the public television Claudiu Saftoiu, was dismissed on 10 December 2013 by the Parliament, which rejected the activity report of SRTv for 2012.
The radio-TV tax could be optional
The radio-TV tax could be paid only by those who still want to use the services of the public radio and television, under a draft law initiated by a group of PPDD deputies, which passed Tuesday by tacit procedure in the Chamber of Deputies, “after the deadline for debate and final vote have been missed.” According to the justification note, “the present law that imposes a mandatory radio-TV tax paid via the provider of electricity is against the Constitution, as it infringes other laws in effect, and is also unjust and discriminatory both for beneficiaries and for private operators.”
The initiators of the law claim that the acting legislation imposes double taxation upon those who are under contract with a provider of radio-TV broadcasts, through the electricity invoice and through the contract with a cable TV operator. They stressed that the level of taxes, the way they are paid, the exemptions from payment and the delay penalties will be established by the government. The deadline for debating the draft law in the Chamber of Deputies was March 27 and the Senate had the final say in the matter.
On the other hand, the management of TVR said that the public television charges the smallest tax (some EUR 11 a year), compared to the other European countries. In these conditions, the TV tax should increase in line with the inflation rate. Recently, Premier Victor Ponta stated that the TV tax is obsolete and could be cancelled, similarly to a move that has been discussed in the United Kingdom for several months.

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