Threatened from the Inside

Why State Disinformation Is the Main Concern in Romania

22 October 2019

Romania does not come across as a shining example in any of the international indicators regarding press freedom and media pluralism. While the Russian threat is not absent in the country, domestic political competition and an overzealous, propagandistic state authority stand in the way of a better functioning media landscape.

Romania is on the eve of a presidential election, which will take place this November. Media activity has mirrored closely the current political atmosphere. Tensions in the form of protests, a manipulative referendum and the collapse of the ruling coalition, have had repercussions on the media environment.

The chief anxiety inside and outside of Romania is related to corruption. Both the authorities and their critics have relied on a anti-corruption narrative to build a campaign strategy. However, beyond the usual political propaganda, there is also a distortion of reality. This primarily concerns the provision of reliable information through the media.

The Protecting Veil

Romania and other EU members from the region, face crucial challenges in the informational domain. Part of these come from Russia, where the Kremlin considers that Western values and liberal democracy are ideologically hostile to its regional ambitions. Central and Eastern Europe, which has a limited ability in dealing with disinformation and interference, struggles to manage an increasingly hostile environment.

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Marianna Prysiazhniuk

Marianna Prysiazhniuk is a Ukrainian journalist based in Germany. Currently she collaborates with the LB.ua news website. She previously was based in Romania and worked for Radio Romania International.

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