A conference in Brussels has been told, according to a press release sent by the office of MEP Norica Nicolai, the European Commission is guilty of “double standards” by rebuking Romania for allowing its media to criticise the judiciary while at the same time lecturing former Soviet states about the importance of an independent media.The event – Freedom of The Press: A Threat to The Judiciary – was organised by Norica Nicolai, head of the Romanian Liberal delegation to the European Parliament and fellow Romanian Liberal MEP Renate Weber. It was held in response to a European Commission (EC) Co-operation and Verification Mechanism report which in January accused the Romanian media of “exercising pressure on the judiciary”.Nicolai told the conference: “It is clear, from the debate, that the Commission’s approach regarding the relationship between the press and the judiciary is fundamentally wrong.”“We want to make it very clear in Romania as well as in Brussels, that the freedom of the speech will not be decided by the whim of political games,” added MEP Renate Weber.The conference, which was held in conjunction with the European Federation of Journalists, heard that Weber will be taking up this issue in May when her report “EU Charter: standard settings for media freedom across the EU” will be voted on in the European Parliament.
“The Commission’s interjection and the manner in which it was presented in its progress report is the best justification of my continuous reluctance to support a law regulating the press,” added Weber. Also present at the debate British MEP Graham Watson, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democracy for Europe. He said that the European Parliament should do a report in response to the European Commission, urging it to provide evidence for its accusations against the Romanian press. The debate also heard from Marc Gruber, director of the European Federation of Journalists, Jorgos Papadakis, founder of the Media Organization for South-East Europe, Georgiana Iorgulescu, executive director for the Center of Judicial Resources, Adrian Ursu, journalist at Antena3 Romania, Adina Anghelescu Stancu, journalist at lumeajustitiei.ro and Adrian Valentin Moise, vice president of the Romanian Federation of Journalists.