Grassroots Radio on Coronavirus — Report from Romania
As the Coronavirus is spreading across Europe, Grassroots Radio project partners (including AMARC Europe) are devoting their energies to arrange information initiatives to keep local populations informed about data and events connected to the health emergency. Additionally, there are members of the consortium who are also active to monitor governmental decisions regarding the organization of information about the virus.
This is the case of Active Watch, the Romanian human rights organization and member of the GR project that promotes free communication for the public interest. Liana Ganea, member of Active Watch and Reporters Without Borders as well as an active component of the GR project, answered to the microphones of Radio FRO, a free radio broadcasting in Upper Austria.
A significant part of the interview is dedicated to the measures that Romania is implementing in order to contrast fake news. Liana told Radio FRO that the Romanian government decided that local authorities cannot communicate data to journalists anymore. All data about the cases have to be communicate to a central body that is governing the crisis. This is an example of lack of transparency that the government has started to implement.
NGOs are rather buys to react against these policies. The declaration of state of emergency has introduced measures that are affecting freedom of expression, making the work of journalists and NGOs more opaque and difficult. One of the consequences of these decisions is that the government can ask the telecom regulator to delete any website that they think create fake news. According to Liana, this process is rather unclear both because there are not intermediate steps until the shutdown and because the criteria to determine the quality of a content have not been clarified. According to Liana, state authorities admitted that they lost track of the virus.
The interview has been conducted in English and included between minutes 11.45 and 23:00.