Part of press shows lack of professionalism and respect for public interest, Alexandru Tanase

Some journalists understand information the wrong way and thus misinform the public, creating a chain of mistakes in multiple media outlets. However, mass media as a power in the state mustn’t allow itself to be lead like a flock. A statement in this regard was made by the chairman of the Constitutional Court (CC) Alexandru Tanase during the debate “Electronic press and political culture: responsibility for the tamed”, organized by Info-Prim Neo news agency. Alexandru Tanase agreed that the press was a business, but of a special kind, because it also concerned a matter of political responsibility. “We convinced ourselves that the freedom of expression we have now is used against the goal it should have. Perhaps we need more political responsibility from the press and its representatives?”, asked the CC chairman. Alexandru Tanase recalled a case when parliamentary parties enquired at CC if they could develop a tool to change the way the head of the state is elected. “It was enough for some political forces to deviate the topic in another direction and launched the idea that someone intended to change the Constitution through an organic law. We continuously informed that nobody wanted to modify the Constitution this way, but this important problem had already got another meaning and connotation”, he explained. Tanase says it is difficult to maintain that the press is only the fourth power, as in truth it is sometimes above the other three branches, because it shapes and determines their behavior. “Sometimes the others don’t adopt the right decision fearing attacks from the fourth”, he stressed. The Court chairman says that the press cannot afford itself to be like a flock because of the position it holds. “Let me give an example of a frequently covered topic by the media: raider attacks. The press created a topic and it led to a stupid situation when people were afraid of being attacked by raiders when getting out: for example, a university teacher excused on his blog his absence from classes by claiming he was attacked by a raider. It was an incredible manipulation”, stressed Alexandru Tanase. “TVs and Internet cannot be treated exclusively as information tools, because the public interest demands these institutions to be responsible for the information they spread”, he added. One of the ideas voiced during the debate was that the press had too much freedom as regards its actions and that was why it allowed itself so many errors. Alexandru Tanase argued that the matter wasn’t about the freedom, but about the responsibility of journalists. He also cited a problem of professionalism that concerned everyone, not only the journalists. The public debate “Electronic press and political culture: responsibility for the tamed” is the 11th event in the series “Developing political culture in public debates”, supported by the German Foundation Hanss Seidel.

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