Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

Our Daily Press. a "Spectral Analysis" of the Romanian Press after 1989

Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

Our Daily Press. a "Spectral Analysis" of the Romanian Press after 1989

Article excerpt

1. HISTORY

My starting point - and also my point of view! - has always been that it is impossible to take a radiography of the present state of our press without involving its short but tumultuous postDecember history, having three distinctive stages: "heroic", "commercial" and that of "tabloid-hysterical". The first started on the night of 22 to 23 December 1989 and lasted until after the elections from 1996 which marked the first change of power in Romania. We should keep in mind the fact that the press was, in fact, the first Romanian institution set free from the claws of dictature. On 22 December, Scânteia (The Spark), the official newspaper of PCR (Partidul Comunist Román - Romanian Communist Party), condamned the "fascists of Timisoara", on the 23, it appeared having the name of Scânteia poporului (The Spark of People) it was over the time when it was nobody's newspaper, for PCR with its 4,5 million members had instantly vanished) and greeted the Revolution, condemning Ceauçescu. On the 24th of December, the newspaper received the name of Adevärul (The Truth), unfortunately not preserved in the first years, while being ruled by Darie Noväceanu, the newspaper was a kind of "official paper" of FSN (Frontul Salvärii Nationale-The Front of National Salvation). Among other things, the newspaper saluted the pitmen's invasion in June 1990, the pitmen that devastated the headquarters of România Libera (Free Romania) and of other independent or opposition's publications. During the night of 22 to 23 December, all the newspapers of PCR at the level of county, just like the other central periods, were "on the people's side", some of them changing their names once they changed their skin!

In this period, the entire press was free, there were no legal or institutional constraints, the only syncopes being "small things" caused by printers who refused to print some publications, authors, texts - in Ia§i, there was a press strike on this particular occasion, I participated in it during the first hunger strike started after the 22nd of December 1989. Again in Iaçi, Opinia studenteascä (Students' Opinion), transformed from a monthly newspaper into (almost!) a daily paper, had several editions in January 1990, having blank spaces instead of the text that the typographers did not want to pick. Another press blocking was before the elections from 1992 due to a weird "paper crisis", but then, salvation came from George Soros, that offered one million dollars to the press from Romania in order to buy paper from abroad.31 was a member of the commission that distributed paper, under the leadership of Petre Mihai Bäcanu, and I can say that he worked in a fair way - the necessary paper was received both by free newspapers and by those connected to the neo-communist power, this is the specific case of Adevärul (The Truth), but also by publications from the periphery, including some cultural ones. It is interesting that, in this "heroic" phase, in his book dedicated to the appearance of free press (and) in Romania, Peter Gross uses the formula "the colossus with clay feet" that seems to me very expressive, but not very precise!4 It was the only period from the history of press when concrete results were obtained taking things pragmatically. The question "What have you done in the past five years, mister...?" caused chills to activists in lower ranks from PCR led by Mr. Iliescu and FSN, plenty of controversed characters were forced to resign or be dismised from the new job. In the same period, beyond different managers and varied interests not always congruent, the press managed to take part in common campaigns, either against the intentions of the power to narrow the liberty of press, or against some abnormal situation, or against some questionable characters which are surprisingly promoted in high ranks. Let us think about General Chirac, the Minister of Interiour during the miners' rebellion, he was banished by the hoarseness of demonstrators that shouted "Down Chirac! …

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