Romania: Social Defamation Act Adopted by Senate

Eugen Cojocariu

On 7 October 2015, the Senate (upper Chamber of the Romanian Parliament) adopted the Act on Social Defamation, initiated by the Member of Parliament Liviu Dragnea, President of the Social Democratic Party, PSD, former main ruling party in Romania. The Act has to be discussed and voted by the lower Chamber of the Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. Acording to art. 1 d of the Act, social defamation is an act or an allegation that puts a person in a position of inferiority on the grounds of belonging to a particular social group.

According to art. 17 of the Act, the audiovisual public services (Romanian Television and Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company) will include in their schedules programmes to promote tolerance towards group differences that will represent minimum 1% of the total broadcasting time of each television/radio station they administrate. Art. 18 of the Act stipulates that in the National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD) will be established the Department for the Promotion of Human Dignity and Tolerance, led by the Vice-President of the CNCD.

The Department will develop and annually update guides of good practices for the promotion of human dignity and tolerance for group differences, aimed to civil servants, mass-media and teachers. The Department will also develop and manage programs and specific briefings about human rights and tolerance for group differences for the employees in public administration, police, army and the devolved structures of the ministries and will find and notify the public institutions in the area which do not perform their duties established by this Law. At the same time, teachers should receive training on the subject and schools should adopt an annual plan for the implementation of actions to combat discrimination. Competitions for vacant public functions shall also include the assessment of the knowledge pertaining to human dignity, combating discrimination, equal opportunities and promoting tolerance for group differences. The performance appraisal of civil servants will contain at least one criterion on the promotion of human dignity and tolerance for group differences.


Art. 19 (1) of the Act on Social Defamation provides measures against breaches of the Act: social defamation is sanctioned with a fine of 1,000 to 30,000 lei (~EUR 220 to 6,665) if it concerns a natural person or a fine of 2,000 to 60,000 lei (~EUR 440 to 13,330) if perpetrated against a social group.


According to the initiator, the Act intends to introduce and promote social behaviors and attitudes based on the principles of human dignity and of tolerance associated to social groups. The Act is meant for the introduction of proactive mechanisms for promoting tolerance and combating discrimination, considers Mr Dragnea. On the contrary, more Liberal politicians as well as NGOs and more freedom of expression experts vividly criticized the Act, considering that the Law is a masked project against the freedom of media, especially the mass-media writing about political corruption. The experts believe that the Act is against mass-media and anyone who expresses its views in the public space, because it introduces in Romania a more than exaggerated version of politically correctness. Tolerance cannot be imposed in coercive manner, consider the opponents of the Act. The experts also consider the distinction between the dignity of an individual and the dignity of a social group as unjustified and think the existing legislation in the field is more clear and comprehensive than the new Act and it would be enough to put it into practice in a correct manner.

Eugen Cojocariu, Radio Romania International

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The Propunere legislativă privind promovarea demnităţii umane şi toleranţei faţă de diferenţele de grup – forma adoptată de Senat (Draft Law on the promotion of human dignity and of tolerance of group differences – form adopted by the Senate) is available in Romanian language here


The Propunere legislativă privind promovarea demnităţii umane şi toleranţei faţă de diferenţele de grup – expunerea de motive (Draft Law on the promotion of human dignity and of tolerance of group differences – Explanatory Memorandum) is available in Romanian language here

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