17/03/2008 de Andrei Badin
Upon his return Friday from a trip abroad, President Traian Basescu made strong statements against the alleged media attacks targeting himself and his family. Jurnalul National was one of the media outlets mentioned in Basescu’s speech, for an article published in its Friday issue, detailing the businesses ran by Basescu’s family between 1994 and 2001.
Basescu said the Jurnalul National article was basically one fat lie.
To this statement, the author of that article gives his own reply:
• The President should recall his own statements regarding the prosperity his family arrived at while running the now famous ice-cream factory;
• I am not a partner of Mugur Ciuvica, of the Group for Political Investigation. I had no connections, ever, with this organization. I met Ciuvica only once, some seven years ago;
• I never stated that the bank credit which the company owned by the President’s brother and wife took in 1994 would have been provided via the PHARE funding. The credit was granted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or EBRD, at a lower interest rate than on the free market – a preferential treatment the President failed to address in his public statement. He also failed to mention that the collateral for this credit was the apartment he owned in Constanta city, and that he paid the credit back with a delay;
• In 1997 the Government adopted and emergency ordinance annulling debts some companies had to the Rural Bank şlater bought by Raiffeisen Bank, Austriaţ. I did not say the President, then the Transportation minister, actually initiated the ordinance. But I did say that the President used his position to get the company owned by his family on the list of companies “forgiven” from paying their debts, and that he also worked towards keeping from publication in the Official Journal the appendices to the ordinance where these companies were listed. Thus, Mr. President, you performed in an illegal and immoral manner. And, incidentally, that Government was not headed by Mugur Isarescu, as you wrongly stated;
• Mr. President, you made repeated public statements about the ice-cream company owned by your family members. Now you try to dissociate yourself from it.
• However, what stays as a matter of public record is this: Friday night you said “I had never had a PHARE credit line. But on January 18, 2000, the media recorded you stating that “I have 20% ownership in an ice-cream company built on a PHARE credit of one million dollars.” And on March 3, 2000, daily Evenimentul zilei wrote that you got other bank credits too, or a 100 million lei credit at the time, and that you were about to get a 50,000 USD worth credit from PHARE funding;
• In your statement Friday you did not answer the accusations made by Jurnalul National regarding the fact that you were breaking the law while holding the position of Transportation minister, since you were also acting as a sole administrator for two companies active in the transportation sector: Triton Company SA and MT Vega Transport SRL. Furthermore, the latter company had its fiscal address at the Government funded home you lived in, which again was in breach of the law;
• The statements I made in the article you challenge, Mr. President, were based on further documentation I made, starting from the initial accusations leveled against you by the former head of the Government Control Body, Valerian Stan. He was the one to first bring up publicly the fact that you took a credit in 1994 and that you tried to annul your debt to the Rural Bank by way of the 1997 ordinance. You took Stan to court for slander, on these allegations, but the court decided in a February 12, 2002 ruling that no slander was involved, thus crediting the allegations as being factually true. Hence, trying to level against Jurnalul National accusations of slender cannot stand trial, since a court already ruled on the matter.
• What stays, though, it is your decision, Mr. President, to manipulate the public opinion with choosing to not answer the well documented questions raised up by your dubious behavior as a public servant, with distorting the statements made in the article and with leveling accusations against your political enemies, while claiming that you are a victim;
In fact, the only victim here is the public and the public office you abused. You, Mr. President, failed to tell the truth and cast outright lies to cover your tracks.
• Translated by Anca Păduraru
A Bolshevik vision on the media
18/03/2008 de Ion Cristoiu
At the jubilee of the General Assembly of the Great Cities in Romania, Traian Basescu quickly went over the great problems of the Romanian city administrations in 2008 in order to say certain things regarding his speech on the Otopeni airport on Friday, the 14th of March 2008. The reason for that is the reaction of the newspapers and televisions in Romania to his attack against the media. President Traian Basescu wanted to say he didn’t attack the entire media, but some measures taken by a part of it. Therefore, the group of journalists that support the President no matter what said the President announced his position as far as the media was concerned on the airport. However, we believe that, on Saturday, the 15th of March 2008, the President did not announce his position. The Presdient did no more than to restate his position in a spectacular manner.
In Otopeni, as well as at the Mayors’ Assembly, Traian Basescu wanted to show that he was a politician who risked denouncing a phenomenon of the media nowadays. Under the circumstances in which certain people own parts of the media, many journalists develop great campaigns against the economical and political enemies of the owners of the newspapers they work for. These are campaigns in which they receive high sums of money from their bosses to say certain things in their articles. The theory according to which there are journalists that write on command bribed by interest groups isn’t new in the politician career of Traian Basescu. He said it when he was the mayor of Bucharest, when he ran for President and afterwards, when he became the Romanian President. He said the Adrian Nastase Government paid the journalists when he was the Mayor of Bucharest.
During the first months of mandate, the financers were the illegitimate groups of interest. Now, Traian Basescu believes the media moguls pay the journalists. The President searched for a metaphor to describe these journalists and he said they were like ATMs. The theory of journalism on command is not new in the after-the-Revolution period either. There have been a lot of politicians who said certain journalists were paid to denigrate their image. The money came from the American Imperialism, the Hungarians, the Russians, CIA, KGB, the Mafia, and the Opposition. They also accused me of being paid by some of the groups mentioned above and by other political formations that existed in Romania. On numerous occasions, I showed that looking for other reason than my own beliefs for the articles I wrote didn’t give any other results than to make us think of the well-known thesis of Lenin in the party organization and literature on the 13th of November 1905, according to which writing depends on the money of the bourgeois.
In the 50s, the imperialist groups materialized this thesis in denouncing the ones who criticized the Stalinist dictatorship as agents paid with US dollars. Now, Traian Basescu says the journalists write as ordered by the newspaper owners and are paid in euros. For the Bolsheviks in 1950, the paid journalists doubted the popular democratic state. Traian Basescu says that, in 2008, the journalists that criticize him doubt the authority of the state institutions. Traian Basescu was educated at one of the most primitive schools in the communist period: the military school. One can easily see that!
When the journalists he attacked rightfully reacted after being named enemies of the people, Traian Basescu defended himself by saying he didn’t attack the freedom of the press because he didn’t release any decree to stop the freedom of speech. He certainly didn’t release any decree that would send the journalists he accused on the chair. He didn’t do it, because this is impossible for him to do at the moment. But wouldn’t he do it if he had the needed means?!
• Translated by Sorin Bălan