The policy coordination authorities in the media sector are the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which implements policies, and the National Audiovisual Council (NAC), which is the secondary regulator for the sector.
Romania has ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television and modified its national legislation accordingly.
Currently, in order to harmonise its specific legislation with the acquits communautaire, Romania closely follows up the revision process of the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, and of the TVWF Directive, in order to adapt its legislation accordingly.
Romanian public service broadcasters operate alongside numerous commercial counterparts. Currently, there are now approximately 80 Romanian television channels (almost half of them having more than 1 local station), plus 4 operated by the Romanian Television Society – the public broadcaster (TVR 1, TVR 2, TVR International, TVR Cultural and TVR Info). Due to financial problems the Romanian Television Society announced the closing down of TVR Cultural and TVR Info (see also http://www.romania-insider.com/romanian-state-owned-tvr-to-close-down-two-channels-layoff-staff-in-attempt-to-save-money/63105/). As of September 2012, only TVR info has been shut down. Also 845 cable companies also operate in Romania.
The National Audiovisual Council (NAC) is a public, autonomous authority under the control of the Parliament and is the protector of the public interest in the field of audio-visual communication, under the conditions provided by the Audiovisual Law no. 504/2002 revised in 2010.The Council has advisory competence with regard to other public authorities, without being empowered with legislative initiative.
The NAC was founded in 1992 (under Law 48/1992, replaced in 2002 by Law 504 revised in 2010)in order to provide a legal framework for the setting up of a competitive and free private market in the Romanian audiovisual field.
The NAC is the only regulatory authority in the field of audio-visual programme services and must ensure the following:
- observance of a pluralist expression of ideas and opinions in the programme services transmitted by radio-broadcasters under Romanian jurisdiction;
- pluralism of information sources for the public;
- free competition;
- a fair balance between the national radio-broadcasting services and local, regional or thematic services;
- protection of human dignity and of minor children;
- protection of the Romanian culture and language, as well as the culture and languages of ethnic minorities;
- transparency of mass communication means in the audio-visual sector; and
- transparency of its own activities.
The main debates among media professionals and other actors of the cultural community are targeted at the following issues:
- TV and radio cross ownership (without print media and ISPs);
- transparency provisions not fully enforced;
- the production and dissemination of indigenous content: Audiovisual Law no. 504/2002 (amended in 2003 and in 2006) provides, in line with the TWF Directive, that broadcasters have to reserve at least 10% of their programme budgets, or their broadcasting time, for independent productions (excluding the time allocated to information, sports events, games, publicity, teletext and teleshopping services); and
- there are no cultural obligations for broadcasters, except for those in the public service (Romanian Television Society and Romanian Radio Society) – the law is currently under revision.