Head of public television has to resign after parliament’s hostile scrutiny of last year’s activity report for TVR.Romania’s parliament has rejected the activity report for last year of the state-owned television company, TVR, a decision which obliges the TVR leadership to resign.
“The economic situation in TVR is extremely difficult and, despite the fact that we tried to improve it, there are still huge debts to be paid.
“We were facing constant internal opposition to our plans to improve the company’s management and address personnel issues”, TVR manager, Alexandru Lazescu said, explaining the tough situation.
But MPs rejected his arguments and have duly asked for his resignation.
In recent months, Alexandru was under fire from political parties and the media for the public broadcaster’s poor financial results.
Late last month, the Tax Administration froze the accounts of TVR over a debt of some 69 million euro, including penalties, putting the broadcaster at risk of having to suspend activity.
The company had already incurred a loss of 61 million euro that had been accumulating since 2005, Lazescu said.
Late last year, the broadcaster started a restructuring plan aimed at reducing costs. The main planned measure is to lay off 10 per cent of the company’s 3,300 current employees.
The TVR management also started to outsource seasonal activities and to restructure the budget allocated for supplementary hours and work during the weekend.
Media analysts say TVR’s plight is further proof that reforming Romanian public television is a long and painful process.
“No one should underestimate Lazescu’s good intentions, but he failed to explain his reforming plans,” says Ioana Avadani, director of the Romanian Center for Independent Journalism, CJI.
Excessive numbers of employees, poor or unbalanced political shows, and outdated equipment are some of the many grave problems affecting the national broadcaster, according to reports.
Around 70 per cent of the TVR’s revenue comes from publicity, transmission fees and TV licences paid by all users. The other money comes from the state budget, making it dependent on the generosity of the ruling parties.
TVR started in 1965 and now includes seven national TV stations and five other broadcasting at regional level.