With dozens of nationwide and local television and radio channels, over 3,000 printed publications and a fragmented media ownership structure, Romania’s media market looks vibrant and diverse. Romanian media legislation is compatible with European Union (EU) legislation and local regulators monitor broadcasters’ compliance with legal provisions. Romania also boasts surprisingly competitive and accessible technology: its internet is one of the fastest in the world, and data and mobile packages are affordable for many. If access were measured strictly on technical terms, Romanians would look like a highly privileged people.
However, Romanian media operate in an adverse environment, hardly enabling independent journalism. Two companies dominate the television market. Local media pinch pennies. The only space where journalism can thrive is the internet where news portals are mushrooming. However, many of them are small and struggling financially, grappling with a public whose trust in media and journalists is at low levels and who is generally unwilling to spend money on media content. All that dims prospects for the future of Romania’s independent journalism.