The media content is imposed by the owner, dictated by politicians, paid from public funding and generating blackmail, ActiveWatch reveals in the study "The Political Map of Local Televisions" released at the headquarters of the organization..
Maria Popa, representative of ActiveWatch, one of the authors of the research, said that, according to the study, as the local press lives off press conferences, official statements and lays itself open to the abuse of public servants, the symbiosis among politics, business and press, engaged in a feudal power system, annihilates the media employees' ability to collect information.
"Choosing subjects using non-journalistic criteria and the lack of any methods for the collection of information except for press statements or conferences generate churnalism. The term applies to media products obtained by mixing press releases, agency news items and articles in a fast, automated and ?wholesale' manner, without any minimal verification or personal contribution whatsoever," Popa said.
As their numbers are very low, media employees mix the editorial roles with the managerial ones, which can generate conflicts of interests.
Media employees are, most often, extremely poorly trained, poorly paid and end up adding more income from other activities. The numbers differ from one county to another, but, according to the interviews, a media employee earns on average between RON 600 and 1,500, with very few media employees actually retiring from the press, the study reveals.
The document also reads that being captive in a vicious circle of compromise, local TV stations are, most of the time, insignificant audience-wise and lack any credibility, which makes them utterly dependent on the money brought in by the owner and sponsorship from public funding, a.k.a advertising contracts for the local administration or for politicians.
Media employees' lack of professional training and lack of putting into effect ethical guidelines have contributed to identifying media laws as a possible protection solution, the ActiveWatch study shows.
The study "The Political Map of Local Televisions" represents an X-ray of the current situation of local TV stations from 15 counties. For an entire year, the organization has processed about 200 meetings and interviews taken in nearly 300 hours of discussions with about 200 journalists, editors, managers and media owners, local politicians, media experts, bloggers and representatives of local authorities.
The research reveals information about the attitudes, opinions and values of the interviewed people in regard to: economic problems, political and economic pressures, ethics and self-regulation. The document provides solutions for improving the quality and independence of local media, as well as an interactive map available on the internet free of charge.AGERPRES