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Media are no threat to security, says IFJ in response to National Defence Strategy

(IFJ/IFEX) - 25 June 2010 - Today the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists, rejected the idea that media are a potential threat to national security in Romania.

"We understand that, in Romania like in any other country, terrorism, crime and corruption pose a threat to the public and the government, but we are puzzled to hear that media could be added to a list of threats to public institutions," said EFJ President Arne König. "Media are an essential part of the democratic life; they help investigate threats to the public and we hope the Romanian Presidency will realise this mistake."

The National Defence Strategy, recently initiated by the President of Romania, was adopted by the Romanian Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) and submitted to the Parliament on 23 June 2010. According to this Strategy, media are at the heart of "orchestrated campaigns that denigrate state institutions by disseminating false information" with a view to slandering the state institutions.

The EFJ supports a broad coalition that includes its affiliate, the Romanian Journalists Federation MediaSind, and which strongly opposes the proposals made by the CSAT.

Journalists' role is to inform the public and to investigate various issues, including potential threats to institutions, says the EFJ. To this end, there is a risk that governments or public institutions are criticised in the process, but the greatest risk is taken by those courageous journalists who investigate crime and corruption.

The EFJ refutes any allegations that the aim of journalists is to "orchestrate campaigns" and condemns the approach taken by the CSAT Strategy. It calls on the Romanian Parliament to amend the document by respecting the role of media in democracy.

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