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Chaos at Evenimentul
OBSERVER - December 28th 2004Evenimentul Zilei is the scene of a major conflict after the Ringier trust, the paperâs owner, decided to dismiss the editor-in-chief Dan Turturica. Most of the members of the editorial office are against this decision.
COALITION. Dan Turturica (right) says that the protestors support him and the concepts Evenimentul Zilei promoted until now
DOUBLE. The editorial team, having 80 subscribers, draws attention upon the "abusive decisions" of the foreign trust. Three days ago they made public a statement in which the trustâs decision was much contested. As a follow up, the paper on Monday had two teams working for it. The team of the majority was led by Dan Turturica, and the other one, with "approximately 10-15%" of the journalists, was led directly by the new editor-in-chief. The journalists from Evenimentul Zilei made public their concern regarding the presumptive transformation of the newspaper into a tabloid. Turturicaâs "majority" harshly accused the "commando" operation of the team of the new editor-in-chief. Yesterday, the people were able to buy the "Ionescu edition", but the articles from the "Turturica edition" were available on the newspaperâs website.
PROTEST. The Evenimentul Zilei editorial office protested in front of the Swiss Embassy in Bucharest yesterday. Dan Turturicaâs team was there and he led them. They say that these decisions are no more than tries to censor the press and to shorten the right to free speech. They brought into discussion the case of the Romania Libera newspaper, which is seen as a model since at Evenimentul the journalists have been forced to write only certain facts regarding the internal politics as well.
POSITION. For the time being, Ringier didnât say whether there will be any personnel changes at Evenimentul. However, the "old" team from Evenimentul Zilei, the team that has been protesting these days, doesnât want to work in the given conditions and says that the journalists will go on a strike as soon as possible and that, once the approvals are obtained, the public protests will go to the Delegation of the European Commission. The Ringier press trust expressed its position regarding Evenimentul Zilei: "The rumours saying the newspaper will be transformed into a tabloid have no valid grounds. First of all, since the press trust took over until now, all the public statements of Ringier expressed the definite goal of making Evenimentul Zilei the number one newspaper in Romania".
"THERE ARENâT ONLY PRINCIPLES BEHIND THESE PROTESTS"Taking into account the crisis at the Evenimentul Zilei daily newspaper, we contacted the new editor-in-chief Razvan Ionescu. Referring only to the editorial office only, he said that, for now, he is working with 20 people.
"From my point of view, they are not at work today (n.e. - yesterday). I am talking about the ones protesting in front of the Swiss Embassy. And yesterday (n.e. - on Sunday) they didnât give any texts", stated Razvan Ionescu yesterday. The new Evenimentul Zilei editor-in-chief added that there will be penalties for the protestors. "We will apply the normal rules for an enterprise, but it is obvious that the protestors wonât be considered equal to the ones working. It is obvious that there will be penalties." Ionescu wanted to bring a completion by saying: "These protests seem to be based on principles, but it isnât so. And this is where I stop."
Razvan Ionescu adopted Ringierâs position regarding the editorial changes possible in the near future for Evenimentul Zilei. He said there wonât be major changes. "A major change for this newspaper is absurd. It is like someone would toss the newspaper and its editorial office down the window. There will be some necessary improvements and stimulations." And all these because the goal, which the new editor-in-chief has to reach, is, as he says, to make Evenimentul Zilei the number one daily newspaper in Romania, from the readersâ number point of view, as well as from the number of copies printed point of view. "For now, Evenimentul Zilei is in a tough competition with Jurnalul National and Adevarul for the number of readers", Razvan Ionescu admitted in the end. (ByEugenia Mihalcea)
Translation: SORIN BALAN
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