DML Executive Summary: Romania
Currently, the level of media literacy in Romania in still low, having been fueled by the 2008-2009 economic crisis period. However, the Government of Romania is committed to improving the country's media literacy through best practices and its communication channels like Facebook and YouTube. Another notable effort is the adoption of the National Strategy for the Romanian Digital Agenda 2020. Below is a high-level overview of the Digital Media Landscape in Romania, with data and sources extracted from the attached document.
- According to the Open Society Foundation, the media literacy level in Romania is quite low and this has been triggered by poor investment in good news and debate programs, which is a result of the economic crisis that hit the country in the 2008 – 2009 period. The Romanian nationalists are the most receptive of misinformation like the propaganda that is fueled by the pro-Kremlin.
- The country's media industry is the high-yielding ground for misinformation. For instance, there exist websites that have linked up with Kremlin-sponsored disinformation in their abhorrence towards the west, and such websites even publish critical and skeptical articles about the influence of Russia in Romania as a distraction from their unconcealed bias.
DML Government Actions
- In 2015, the National Strategy for the Romanian Digital Agenda 2020 was adopted by the Romanian government. The government is also promoting digital media best practices through debates among the EU member states in its efforts to regain public trust in digital media. Notably, the government has adopted the GDPR (General Data Protection Rights).
- The Romanian government has a Facebook page and a YouTube channel that are used to relay information and news related to the government. No Hate Speech campaign was also initiated to fight hate speech in the country.
- Besides, the Romanian Presidency for European Union has prioritized the prevention of hate speech and combating online disinformation in its priorities.
- The national players in promoting DML are the National Audiovisual Council of Romania, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Communications and Information Society (MCSI), and the NGO Fund in Romania. The National Audiovisual Council of Romania, for instance, has put mechanisms in place, which allows the citizen to lay complaints on any unbecoming or offensive content in their TVs or radios.
- Other players that operate internationally are the Romanian Academy, Mediawise Society, Globe Reporters, the Center for Independent Journalism, One World Association, and the Active Watch. Initiatives by these players include promoting media literacy by training and equipping media education practitioners and developing research and intervention methodologies that address media education, good governance, anti-discrimination, and freedom of expression.
- Among the uncovered initiatives, one is related to resources (Mind Over Media), two are campaigns (All Digital Week Romania and Switch Off/Online Hate Speech), and two are end-user engagements (Globe Reporters and Teaching Media Literacy). These initiatives have targeted a wide range of people, including high school students, bloggers, vloggers, journalists, and others.
- Campaign initiatives like Switch Off/Online Hate Speech focused on transforming the Romanian online space by dealing with hate speech and promoting non-violence and respect and having a multilingual digital platform with crowdsourcing. Mind Over Media, which is a resource initiative, focuses on creating a network of European teachers and experts in the media education space.
- Also, the Teaching Media Literacy, an initiative by the Romanian- American Foundation, promotes media literacy among high school students as content generators as well as media consumers.
- From the research, several experts have given analyses on the loopholes in the country's DML space and their suggested course of action that would help improve DML in the country.
- Experts like Better Internet for Kids, Gabriela Grosseck & Laura Malita, and Peter H. Chase are advocating for a more comprehensive approach in DML in Romania, improvement of the education system to improve the country's DML, addressing areas like Facebook that are considered to be major sources for disinformation, among others.
This summary is also available in the attached Google document.