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May 17, 2021

New draft law: Liviu Dragnea wants fines up to RON 60,000 for “social defamation”

Social defamation might be fined RON 1,000 to 30,000 if it aims a physical person and respectively RON 2,000 to 60,000 if it aims a social group, says a draft law submitted to the Senate by interim PSD leader, Deputy Liviu Dragnea, Mediafax informs.
The proposal stipulates founding a special department inside the National Council for Combatting Discrimination, as well as the obligation that public radio and television would host programs promoting tolerance, teachers would attend classes on this topic and school units would adopt “an annual plan for implementing actions destined to combat discrimination.”
According to the Law on Promoting Human Dignity and Tolerance to Group Differences, submitted to the Senate by interim PSD president Liviu Dragnea, social defamation would become an offence, fined RON 1,000 to 30,000, if it aims a physical person and RON 2,000 to 60,000, if it aims a social group.
The person who considers themselves a target for social defamation may submit, in front of the Court, a request for payment of damages and restoration of the situation previous to defamation or cancellation of the situation caused by discrimination, three years after the offence was committed or from “the date the interested person might hear about the offence being committed”, the legal initiative shows.
In front of the Court, the person who considers to be a victim of social defamation has to prove the existence of actions that allow the supposition of existing direct or indirect social defamation; they could bring up any kind of proof, such as video and audio recordings, as well as statistical data.

According to the draft law presented by Social-Democrat Liviu Dragnea, social defamation may be defined as an action or declaration by which a person is placed in a situation of inferiority based on belonging to a category of persons “socially distinguished by one or several criteria such as genre, age, race, religion, ethnicity, mother tongue, cultural traditions, political convictions, social provenience, disabilities, non-contagious chronic diseases or HIV / AIDS infection.”
In his exposition of reasons, the initiator shows that the “legal proposition is intended to create mechanisms promoting values related to human dignity and tolerance to group differences”, furthermore, there are three fields identified as grounds for the development of these promoting mechanisms: education, media and the activity of local and national public administration employees.

The draft law also stipulates that the Romanian Television Company and the Romanian Radio Broadcast Company would include in their programs shows promoting tolerance to group differences, that will represent at least 1 per cent of total broadcast time of each television and radio station in the portfolio of these companies.

According to the legal initiative, “tolerance is granted for any social group, under the circumstances that it does not jeopardize fundamental rights and liberties stipulated by the Romanian Constitution.”

The initiator mentions, though, that the law is not applicable in case of actions that defy other laws, public order and morality, support or finance terrorism, undermine national security, seek or encourage social segregation, jeopardize the unity of the Romanian state, public health or violate the rights or liberties of other persons who do not belong to that social group.”

Dragnea also shows in his exposition of reasons that, in case this legal initiative is passed, Romania would be the first EU member country to promote this proactive pattern for assimilating, at the level of Romanian society, principles and values related to human dignity and tolerance to differences between social groups.”

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