Parliament convened on Tuesday evening in order to elect the new head of the public television channel, after the decision was postponed because of a lack of quorum last week. Last Tuesday, lawmakers voted the public television channel’s new Board, and elected George Orbean, the Government’s representative, as President and CEO. Orbean failed to obtain the joint Culture Commissions’ approval, engaging in a heated exchange with the MPs.
The nomination of George Orbean as chairman of the Board and CEO of the Romanian state TV broadcaster was rejected in the joint plenum of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies in a 206-to-185 vote.
Another plenary session of the Parliament has been convened for Wednesday.
The vote on Orbean’s nomination has failed last week because of a lack of quorum. The Parliament managed, however, to appoint the 13 members of the new board, which subsequently nominated George Orbean – the Government’s representative – for chairman and CEO.
Irina Radu’s interim leadership expired on Wednesday, March 23, but the MPs refused to ensure a quorum for the election of a new leadership, PSD and ALDE being dissatisfied with the Board members’ vote in favour of Orbean.
On Wednesday, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu criticized the Board’s proposal for the office of President and CEO, stating that George Orbean is “a person with no college degree at the age of 40.”
On Friday, the Social Democrats reiterated that they will back Orbean, pointing out in a press communiqué that they hope that on Tuesday they will be able to elect “a suitable person, from the point of view of both education and experience, for the office of President and CEO of TVR.”
In reply, the Liberals stated on Tuesday, through Co-President Alina Gorghiu, that the Liberals will be present “mandatorily” at important voting such as the one for the leadership of TVR, doing otherwise putting them at risk of not being included on the lists for parliamentary elections.
ForMin informs Parliament on Council of Europe alert on Romanian TV
Foreign Affairs Minister Lazar Comanescu wrote to the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies to inform on a post on the Council of Europe’s website, where foreign journalists warn about the situation of TVR, Romania’s state television station.
“I wish to bring to your attention the fact that recently, on the Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists, on the Council of Europe’s website, an alert was posted on the situation of the Romanian television. It was introduced upon a request of the International Federation of Journalists and of the Association of European Journalists and is aimed at the package of amendments to Law No 41/1994, which might bring TVR to insolvency. Thus, according to these associations, the legislative approach is a threat to the independence of the public TV station. The initiative of the IFJ/AEJ is based on a request for support from the Romanian Journalists Union MediaSind. We mention that including Romania alongside states such as Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey on the specialized website of the Council of Europe might place our country in an uncomfortable position, which contradicts the official position of authorities on the observance of the fundamental human rights and freedoms. (…) Considering this, we are asking you to formulate an official position on the aforementioned matter, to allow us sending it to the Secretariat of the Council of Europe and post it on the Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists,” the minister wrote.
The letter was forwarded to the Culture Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, according to the Chamber’s secretary Marcel Ciolacu. Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu declared that the Senate, too, will answer the foreign minister, after its Culture and Media Committee will state a point of view