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GOOD NEWS QUOTA RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Good news for Romanians - the constitutional court blocked a government move demanding that the media broadcast positive and negative news in equal proportions.

On 9 July, the court ruled that the new law was unconstitutional. The law, which was passed unanimously by the Senate last month, stipulated that positive news should make up half of all newscasts on Romania's radio and television stations.

According to news reports, the opposition liberal democrats, the PDL party, had appealed to the constitutional court, arguing that the new legislation infringed freedom of expression.

Two senators - one from the governing National Liberal Party (PNL), the other from the far-right Great Romania party (PRM) - had proposed the law, bemoaning the "irreversible effect" of negative news "on the health and life of people."

They said the aim was to "to improve the general climate and to offer the chance to the public to have a balanced view of everyday life, psychologically and emotionally."

The National Audiovisual Council in Romania, which would have been the body to judge what was "positive" and "negative", opposed the bill. "News is news," council chair Rasvan Popescu told reporters. "It is neither positive or negative. It simply reflects reality. I don't believe that the introduction of such quantitative criteria can work. Events cannot be programmed, nor can minds."

Visit these links:
- AFP: http://tinyurl.com/5t8rp4
- MMA: http://www.mma.ro/
- IFEX Romania page: http://tinyurl.com/5r8ckq
(16 July 2008)

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