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Europe

EU Report: Press Freedom Problems in Romania

The European Commission has questioned press freedom in Romania and highlighted it as one of the most serious failings in this year’s progress report on Romanian EU membership.

According to the BBC, the draft report on Romania criticizes attempts to curb media freedom, as well as looking at the widespread corruption in the country. The report emphasizes that economic pressure has been put on the press as well as noting cases of physical attacks against journalists. The attacks have mainly concerned journalists with the local press – and the number of cases has risen recently, something which the report calls an alarming tendency. The debate over the freedom of the Romanian press has been fuelled by recent alleged attempts to influence the work of journalists in a number of independent Romanian newspapers. Two big newspapers, Evenime ntul Zilei and Romania Libera, protested at alleged undue interference by their Western owners in their editorial content. Both the Swiss group Ringier and the German owner WAZ, owners of the two dailies, have denied influencing editorial policy. The report is due to be published on Wednesday and will be a key document on Romania's readiness to join the EU in 2007. (EUobserver.com)

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