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October 20, 2020
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World Press Freedom Day, as seen by Romanian politicians and public authorities

The freedom of press is the guarantee of any functional democracy wherein citizens must be properly and timely informed, reads a message by the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) on the World Press Freedom Day, sent on Sunday to AGERPRES.

“Marking this day is all the more important as the democratic community is put to the test globally by the exceptional measures taken as a result of the need to fight effectively against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. With this year’s theme of the United Nations/UNESCO Nations, Journalism Without Fear or Favours, the international community underlines the essential role the media institutions play in the development of the democratic societies. In the current period, marked by the pandemic of COVID-19, access to accurate information and the absence of any attempts to influence or pressure on the journalistic act are crucial elements in increasing societal resilience,” the MAE message says.

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Prime minister Ludovic Orban on Sunday stated he is a strong supporter of the freedom of expression, the freedom of the press, as a guarantee of any functional democracy.

“I appreciate and understand the work of a journalist, as flirting myself with this profession at the beginning of my career. But I find it equally important the right of citizens to be properly informed and reject any form of false news in the name of freedom of expression. The quality of information and truth must take precedence in the media space in support of the public interest. The right of journalists to report freely is guaranteed in Romania and so it will remain, I can assure you. Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we evoke with sadness the situations in different parts of the world where the press continues to be censored, journalists harassed, arrested or even killed, and we want such things to never happen anywhere else,” Orban said in a message on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day sent to AGERPRES by the Government.

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The Romanian press, which is going through a complicated period, must fight on two fronts, both to withstand the serious economic crisis and to stand up “the stream of fake news propagated from the height of the highest institutions of the Romanian state”, on Sunday said the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcel Ciolacu, Acting leader of the PSD (Social Democratic Party, ed. n.).

“Without a free press, President Iohannis’s gross lies about Professor Streinu-Cercel or the so-called experiment of reopening schools in France would have remained unsanctioned at the level of public opinion. If the law had not been applied only to the uncomfortable and telling the truth, the presidential website would have long been closed by the state institutions,” Ciolacu said in a message on World Press Freedom Day posted on Facebook.

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The chairman of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, on his Facebook page, says he wishes the journalists to have the strength to stay free and at the same time sustains that the “Orban gov’t under the guise of a communication campaign on COVID-19, is at least trying to buy the media’s good will, so I don’t use a harsher term”.

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“The press is an important pillar of society, fair and impartial information is a necessity for the public, in any time we live. I thank the journalists for their courage to be sometimes in areas at risk, and away from their families at times, so that we can remain informed,” the Culture minister Bogdan Gheorghiu said in a message on World Press Freedom Day posted on Facebook.

He pointed out that journalists are in this period “in the front line”, with doctors and law enforcement representatives.

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