Mass media represent one of the most effective weapons through which local politicians can manipulate and win votes. So the clientelization and control of the press becomes a priority for them. In PB # 54 we show you the methods of influence and how politicians use the local press. Case study: Gorj county.
The paradigm of the Gorj press has negative effects in the entire economic, political and social landscape. First of all due to the failure to exercise the role of watchdog of democracy. In other plans the profession of journalist loses, determining the de-professionalization of the guild. This creates the prerequisite and the favorable ground for the development of corruption, since no media channel that has been interested in suspicious circumstances no longer has the legitimacy to fight the fight against corruption.
There is no real public opposition, so politicians can use the practices we analyse without serious barriers: the use of public funds to fund the press, clientelistic engagements, masked or arranged contracts, etc.
The current ecosystem of the Gorj media is atypical, taking into account the socio-economic context. Given that the number of unemployed people has increased significantly in recent years and the number of closed SMEs is growing, it is paradoxical that during and after the economic and financial crisis in 2009 the number of media organizations in Gorj increased, a phenomenon impossible to understand in a real economic environment, based on demand and supply.
Real demand for publicity in Gorj County could financially support at least one local television, two local radios and two local daily newspapers. Thus, in order to be able to fund all existing media institutions on the market, the public budgets are being used and generous amounts of money are thrown away in order to promote the mayors and heads of institutions more than the institution itself, its projects or its objectives.
It is worth noting that in the last three years, although the publications retained their names, they changed the publishing companies. Most of the former societies have had tremendous debts, and some of them even went bankrupt, which in most cases affected journalists who were laid off; those who remained were not paid on time, wages, and so on quite small. The effect is boomerang, which also has an impact on the editorial content and the profession of journalist.
As far as Gorj’s media shareholders are concerned, few of them are transparent. In most cases, editorial influence is exerted through interposed beneficiaries. In fact, the trend of recent years is that an increasingly limited group of individuals and private companies control all the media in Gorj, with real political and economic interests. The political party that controls most local media trusts is PSD, which after 1989 has held the leadership of Gorj County Council, Târgu Jiu City Hall and over 70% of the mayoralties.