Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Teodor Baconschi and Media Responsibility

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 12th November, 2011

The Romanian Foreign Minister, Teodor Baconschi, gave the keynote address at this morning’s Bucharest AEJ Congress session on ‘Freedom and Responsibility in the Mass Media’, though his remarks were so brief that they served more as a starting point for discussion. He said that after the fall of Communism in Romania there was a great concentration on trivia in the media, and he urged journalists to avoid creating pessimism or panic. ‘More freedom entails more accountability,’ he declared,which raised some eyebrows in the conference hall. It is not just that some journals and journalists are close to particular politicians or parties; more significant is the influence of certain big businessmen and vested interests. There is a lot of corruption in the Press, we were told, ‘because of the dark side of business.’ In some cases, journalists are not seen as free spirits but as mercenaires. Interestingly, the Minister revealed that he no longer watches television, not just because he is so busy but because he feels he will not get good access to news and commentary there. In that, of course, he resembles some of the younger generation who have abandoned ‘old media’ for the Internet and social networks — both very powerful, but also to be treated with even greater caution, I would argue. And both are often without the necessary level of responsibility or critical engagement.

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