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Relaunch of the Radio Free Europe Romania news service. President Iohannis: Independent media is vital to our society’s health

President Klaus Iohannis conveyed on Monday a message on the reopening of the Radio Free Europe Romania news service, stating that independent media is vital to the health of the society, and denigration campaigns and personal attacks on certain journalists confirm that some politicians are bothered by the freedom of speech and truth.

“The spread of erroneous articles, the launch of politically targeted media campaigns that seriously harm the public interest and the stability of the state can be stopped through the efforts of honest journalists, who are permanently in pursuit of the truth and respect their professional integrity. The existence of independent media is vital to the health of our society. One cannot imagine a free Romania in a free Europe without the most prestigious defender of democracy – free media. There are journalists who deserve being supported and whose efforts to preserve their verticality deserves our recognition. I encourage everyone to continue and to not give up their ethical standards. Denigration campaigns and personal attacks on certain journalists are the confirmation that some politicians are bothered by the freedom of speech and truth being told to people,” Iohannis states in the message, according to a release of the Presidential Administration.

The head of the state welcomes the reopening of the Radio Free Europe Romania news desk, emphasizing that during the communist period this has been a source of “media oxygen”.

“This is Radio Free Europe! As of today, it will be airing again in Romania, although in a new formula that is technologically adjusted to the world we live in. I gladly welcome this re-launch, all the more so as Radio Free Europe has represented our media oxygen that was vital to surviving during the communist era. Before 1989 you have been for many years one of the few precious sources of information the communist power abusively sought to keep under wraps from Romanians, through censorship. Through the opinions and analyses of your contributors, you have helped spread of the truth about that heinous regime that acted against the people. Back then, stations like Radio Free Europe represented genuine bastions of freedom that maintained the Romanians’ Western aspirations and hope that the liberation from communism is possible,” the President notes.

Iohannis considers that the reopening of the radio’s Romanian language service is good news, because a healthy society is based on free media, and noting that the Radio Free Europe journalists have proved themselves to be true professionals.

“In a divided Europe that faces multiple threats, some of them of an internal nature, we need an independent press to help the citizens to discern the truth in a media ocean fraught with lies, fake news and manipulation. Extremely dangerous tendencies we believed to be buried for good in a somber past have reemerged today, concealed in subversive forms, in populist and demagogic speeches of politicians willing to sacrifice even the future of a nation to petty personal interests. The dark shadow of intolerance, autocracy and hate rhetoric is coming down again on our continent. Therefore, your approach becomes the more so important.You have a double responsibility – to rise to the height of the historical reputation of your station and to become a respected outpost in the noble mission of fair information,” Iohannis remarks.

According to the President, a nation’s level of democracy is indissolubly linked to the capacity to protect the independence of journalists and to encourage editorial fairness and balance.

The head of the state also expresses hopes that the relaunch of the Radio Free Europe Romania news service in the first year of Romania’s second century of existence and 30 years after the toppling of dictatorship in 1989 is momentous to reaffirming the values that make the profession of journalist essential in a democracy.

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