|Founded||15 May 1877|
History and profile
The name România liberă was first used by a daily newspaper focusing on politics published between 15 May 1877, (one day after Romania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire) and 13 April 1888, and afterwards by daily with somewhat erratic publication between 1915-1920.
România liberă was refounded on 28 January 1943, during World War II. During the war it opposed the Nazi-allied government of Ion Antonescu, issuing calls to sabotage of the war industry and open armed resistance. Starting with 1947, the Communist Party put a stop to free press in Romania. Although all the newspapers were controlled by the Communist Party, Romania Libera was the least ideological daily during this period. It was also the only Romanian newspaper allowed to publish full-page advertisement sections.
In 1988, four journalists from Romanian Libera, Petre Mihai Bacanu, Anton Uncu, Mihai Creanga, and Alexandru Chivoiu, published a clandestine newspaper called Romania in which they criticized the Romanian Dictator Ceausescu and the Communist censorship of the press. They demanded free press and democracy. The four journalist were arrested by the Securitate, the secret police of the Communist regime, and were tortured for months before being thrown in prison. They were freed on December 22 by the revolutionaries who overthrown Ceausescu.
They returned to Romania Libera and transformed the newspaper in the most respected voice of the opposition to Communism. Although Ceausescu was killed in December 1989, the power in Romania continued to be held by the second liners of the Communist Party grouped around Ion Iliescu, a Russian educated Communist activist who changed the name of the Communist Party to FSN, and continued to govern Romania.
Romania Libera newspaper became the most critical voice against Iliescu and his clique. The newspaper promoted conservative values, democracy, and the argued that Romania should join NATO and the European Union. They also wrote extensively about the abuses of the Securitate, the secret police, during the 50 years of Communism.
In 1990, Romania Libera's circulation rose as high as 1.5 million. However, those numbers fell off ten years later, and in 2000 the paper was purchased by the German company WAZ. Echoing complaints of journalists at rival daily Evenimentul Zilei, which was owned by the Swiss press trust Ringier, România Liberă journalists complained in September 2004 that foreign owners were telling them to lessen political coverage and tone down their negative reporting of the government. Their concern was echoed by a variety of organizations including the Open Society Foundation. Paper's management denied the charges.
In the case of România liberă, this protest took the form of a statement in the edition of 13 September 2004, in which the newspaper's editors protested interference by WAZ. They accused their German ownership of having no concern for the public interest, and accused Klaus Overbeck in particular of trying to dictate to them what they could print in the newspaper. At the time of purchase WAZ promised to confine themselves to the business side of the newspaper and stay out of editorial matters.
In 2010 WAZ left the Romanian market and its shares at România liberă, leaving businessman Dan Adamescu as single share holder of Medien Holding Group.
- Beatrice Kiseleff. Incomod de la 1877 - Romania Libera. RomaniaLibera.ro (in Romanian).
- Corina L. Petrescu (2011). "Performing Disapproval toward the Soviets". In Martin Klimke; et al. (eds.). Between Prague Spring and French May (PDF). New York and Oxford: Berghahn. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
- Unesco, Romania: computer-generated freedom
- Business Romania, "Fears for press freedom on the rise in Romania", 28 September 2004
- Attacks on the Press 2004: Romania, Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 16 August 2006.
- Magda Spiridon, Gabriela Palade, Gelu Trandafir, Revoluţie în stand-by. Deocamdată, Băcanu şi echipa sa rămân la România Liberă" ("Revolution on Standby. For the time being, Băcanu and team remain at România Liberă"), Evenimentul Zilei, 30 October 2004. Retrieved 16 August 2006, reproduced on HotNews.ro. ‹See Tfd›(in Romanian)
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