Recent turbulence at the Polish public broadcaster was seen by some observers as another political football game. Public broadcasting will survive any market or policy changes, however tumultuous they are, they say. But Minna Aslama argues that public TV has fallen out of political favor in many countries now. Even well-established broadcasters in western countries are likely to be dramatically downsized.
Poland has been featured in global news in the past weeks. A controversial law was passed that allowed the replacement of the directors of Polish public TV and radio with political appointees.
“Two bloggers cost €1,200, VAT included. Some of those big bloggers.” This is what an online media advisor in Romania replied when asked whether she could place a piece written by Elena Udrea, a former tourism and regional development minister in Romania, on a popular blog.
They started television stations two decades ago and acted as the “merchants of hope” as they were selling glittering realities Romanians were craving for. More than 20 years later, television in Romania is an affair blemished by scandals, pressures and unlawfulness.
Organizations such as Freedom House or Reporters Without Borders continue to rate Romania high on the scale of media freedom. This is not necessarily inaccurate if one looks for example at access to information and freedom of speech. And yes, in theory, any honest journalist can enjoy full professional freedom if they write on their blog or on a few alternative platforms. They might also enjoy freedom in mainstream media, but only until they intersect with the interests of media owners. That is the true limit of Romanian media freedom.