Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Mali: Jihadist group announces death of french hostage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Tutu cautions ANC: South African peace laureate criticizes ruling party

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Clamping down on jihad propaganda online

Read more

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian 'evidence' into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • Russia vows to respond if 'attacked' in Ukraine

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

Culture

Romanian artists decry government takeover of cultural body

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-18

Romanian artists have launched an online petition to rally against a government decree to take over the country's independent body responsible for promoting culture at home and abroad. Artists see the move as a threat to free speech.

AFP - Hundreds of Romanian artists upped pressure on the government Sunday to preserve the independence of a state-funded body that promotes the country's culture at home and abroad.

An online petition is attracting signatures after Prime Minister Victor Ponta's centre-left government issued an emergency order Wednesday to shift control of the Romanian Cultural Institute from the presidency to the Senate.

"This emergency order, adopted without any consultation or debate, is definitely a diktat," Cristi Puiu, winner of Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival, told AFP on Sunday.

The decree is seen as an attempt to take political control of the body, which is modelled after the British Council and Germany's Goethe Institute, with 17 offices abroad including in New York, Tel Aviv and Paris.

On Sunday, a coalition of rights groups accused Ponta's coalition, formed in May after the collapse of Mihai Razvan Ungureanu's centre-right government, of seeking "to take revenge on independent voices and apply pressure on the public TV and independent agencies like the ICR."

Filmmaker Cristian Mungiu, who won the prize for best screenplay in Cannes this year, called the decision a "purge of the worst kind" -- bold words in this former communist dictatorship.

Under the decree, the ICR management is expected to be replaced within weeks.

"It would be disastrous if the brutal practices and the arrogance of past and present politicians came to nefariously guide the destiny of culture," said prominent Jewish Romanian writer Norman Manea, a literature professor at Bard College, New York.

And eight rights groups said in a press release that the "committee of culture in the Romanian Senate, which is now to control ICR, is known as a rock bed of backward-looking nationalism".

Since 2005, the ICR has financed the translation of more than 300 works by Romanian authors. In 2011 alone, more than two million people attended ICR cultural events staged in major cities throughout the world, official figures show.

Puiu said the ICR "helped break the stereotypes on Romania. Only 10 years ago, when you said 'Romania,' people abroad thought only about dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and gymnast Nadia Comaneci. Now, our cinema is famous and this is thanks to the ICR."

Ponta, a rival of centre-right President Traian Basescu, has defended the move, saying the institute would be less politicised under Senate control.

But the ICR management denied ever coming under any kind of political pressure.

Even critics of current ICR president Horia Patapievici, who have in the past accused him of siding with Basescu, deny Ponta's allegations.

"I disagree with Patapievici from an ideological point of view but I cannot help noting that under his guidance the ICR has become an institution we can be proud of," writer Vasile Ernu said.

On Sunday, a coalition of rights groups accused Ponta's coalition, formed in May after the collapse of Mihai Razvan Ungureanu's centre-right government, of seeking "to take revenge on independent voices and apply pressure on the public TV and independent agencies like the ICR."

Filmmaker Puiu told AFP: "Unfortunately, every time there is a change of government in Romania, the newcomers bin everything that their predecessors did, even the things that worked well, dreaming they will thus leave their imprint on history."
 

Date created : 2012-06-18

  • ROMANIA

    Romania opposition leader to become PM

    Read more

  • WEATHER

    Food flown into snowbound Romanian villages

    Read more

  • ROMANIA

    Romanian prime minister quits over austerity protests

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)