The Deputies' Chamber approved a draft law on repealing Article 276 of Law No 286/2009 on the Criminal Code titled "Pressure on the Judiciary."
The deputies adopted the draft law by a vote of 285 to 9 and 35 abstentions.
National Liberal Party (PNL, at rule) Deputy Alina Gorghiu said from the Parliament rostrum that PNL's parliamentary group would vote for the draft and she called for the support of her colleagues.
"As an initiator and also on behalf of the PNL parliamentary group, I want to call for the support of all my colleagues attending this session today, who will have to choose when giving their final vote between maintaining a Criminal Code provision that could give rise to suspicions that the freedom of speech might be infringed and repealing this article. Therefore, being consistent with the values we have promoted for many years, we endorsed the repealing of the Criminal Code's Article 276, a natural gesture aimed at defending some constitutional rights we all want to protect. Today we shall vote, we, the parliamentary group of PNL, in favour of the draft and with the support of all our colleagues, we are certain it will turn into a better Criminal Code," Gorghiu said.
Leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) of the Chamber of Deputies Marian Neacsu said the Social Democrats backed the Liberals' initiative.
"Although it's an initiative of our Liberal colleagues, it's also a commitment of the Social Liberal Union. We, the PSD group, believe that the news media represent no vulnerability or enemy to us, the political milieu. We shall back the draft law," Neacsu told a plenary sitting of the Deputies' Chamber.
The initiative was also endorsed by the parliamentary groups of the opposition People's Party-Dan Diaconescu (PP-DD), the ruling Conservative Party (PC) and the minorities.
The legal commission of the Deputies' Chamber adopted unanimously the initiative of the Liberal lawmakers to repeal the Criminal Code's Article 276 on restricting the freedom of speech.
PNL Deputy Theodor Nicolescu explained during the debates in the legal commission that the draft law on amending Article 276 of the Criminal Code was agreed upon within all political groups.
"It is a correction of an oversight in the Criminal Code, I believe we should continue to provide maximal security to the freedom of the press and for this reason, the PNL group along with the other groups giving their endorsement call for the adoption of this draft. In line with the provisions of Article 276, in our opinion, the freedom of speech of those seeking to discuss issues of public interest would be restricted," Nicolescu said.
Article 276 of Law No 286/2009 on the Criminal Code reads that "the act of a person who, over the duration of a judicial procedure under way, makes untrue-to-fact public statements relating the fact that a judge or the prosecuting bodies committed a crime or a serious discipline deviation with respect to building the concerned case, with a view to influencing or intimidating them, is punishable by three to a year in prison or a fine."