Romania: Satirical website fined for insulting party leader

Apr. 25, 2018 | Media and Politics

Romania's anti-discrimination body has fined a satirical website for an article targeting Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea‘s relationship with his much younger partner.

Source: BalkanInsight

Romanian Website Fined For Insulting Party Leader

By Ana Maria Luca | BIRN Bucharest

Romania’s anti-discrimination council on Wednesday fined the popular satirical publication Times New Romanian for an article insulting Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea’s partner who had accompanied the politician to a Social Democrat Party congress in March.

The Council for Combatting Discrimination fined the publication 16,000 RON about 3,500 euros for using inappropriate language with sexual connotations, “which created a hostile, degrading, humiliating atmosphere for women that are members of the Social Democrat party, is discriminatory and violates their right to dignity,” the council said in a statement.

The fine is one of the heftiest sanctions it has imposed on a media outlet in recent years. The decision was unanimous.

The item published on March 12 was about Dragnea’s partner, Irina Alexandra Tanase, 24, who sat next to Social Democrat leaders including Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea at the event in the first row.

The anti-discrimination body also told the satirical outlet to publish a summary of the decision on its website and in two national circulation dailies for 30 days.

The publication said on Thursday they will file a lawsuit agianst the anti-discrimination council because they say the decision was taken too fast compared to other cases that usually take months to debate.

The article was "about the PSD congress and the 4,000 members attending it, not just the five people who claimed they were discriminated against," the website said in a statement.

Readers posted scores of messages of support on its social media accounts, offering donations to cover the cost of the fine.

On January 31, the council fined the journalist and commentator Cristian Tudor Popescu 1,000 RON ( 230 euros] for insulting Prime Minister Viorica Dancila by comparing her to a monkey during a television talk show.

At the end of February, the council cleared Dancila herself of using offensive language charges, angering rights organisations who had complained that she used the word “autistic” as an insult. gets-fined-for-ruling-party-pamphlet-04-26-2018