Romania: press groups urge Parliament to reject media law

Press freedom groups have urged Romanian lawmakers to reject a proposal that would allow Parliament to dismiss the chief of the Agerpres national news agency, saying it could harm the outlet's political independence.

The letter, signed by Reporters Without Borders, the European Center for Press and Media Freedom and the Romanian Center for Independent Journalism among others, was issued as senators prepared Monday to vote on the amendment, initiated by members of the ruling Social Democratic Party.

The letter said: "Whatever party you belong to, don't destroy this institution. Don't vote to change the law."

Currently, Agerpres' general manager has a five-year mandate and the agency, under parliamentary control, is required to be politically impartial.

The European Federation of Journalists has called the measure "an instrument to politicize the public service media."