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Fellows' Papers
Journalism & Democracy

Media in Crisis: should the state intervene?

Miruna Munteanu, a Romanian journalist and columnist for Jurnalul Naţional, one of the last broadsheets surviving the deepening print crisis in her country, has written a comparative study of the problems facing the UK, French and Romanian print media.  Written during her fellowship in summer 2010 and entitled 'Media in Crisis: should the state intervene?',Miruna's paper examines the different levels and types of state subsidy offered to the newspaper industry in the three countries.  After a detailed examination of the very different situation in France and the UK,  Miruna concludes that 'In Romania, on the other hand, politicians in power seem quite happy to watch the media industry die. Not only did they not offer any State support for the press, but the government is actually raising taxes.' She argues that the biggest divide is not between libertarian versus interventionist policies, but about whether or not the State cares to have an independent press.  And she makes a final trenchant observation that 'as for the media, all Romanian governments so far asked it to be libertarian in its financing, but socially responsible in its editorial choices. In fact, what they really wished for was a press obedient to political power.'