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Televiziunea Romana

From Academic Kids

Televiziunea Română (more commonly referred to as TVR) is the government-run national television network of Romania, which operates four channels: TVR 1, TVR 2, TVR Cultural and TVR International, along with regional channels in Cluj-Napoca, Iaşi, Timişoara and Craiova.

TVR 1 is the only channel with total national coverage - all the other companies cover just cities/high density population areas, for obvious economic reasons. Even though it does not have the largest audience (ProTV and Antena 1, two private networks, consistently get higher ratings in the urban market segment), it offers a wider variety of services, including webcasts and international viewing.

History

TVR was established in 1956, and first emitted on December 31 on the same year. A second channel, TVR2, was created in the 1970s, but was suspended from 1985 until after the fall of the Communist regime.

In the late 1980s, the TVR schedule was severely limited - to only about 2 hours per day (between 20:00 and 22:00), most of which were dedicated to the cult of personalities of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu; with an exception on sundays, when it was just half propaganda and half real television;

During the December 1989 revolution, TVR was an important focal point of the events. Rebels occupied the TVR building in the afternoon of December 22 and announced that the Ceauşescus had fled. TVR changed its name to "Televiziunea Romānă Liberă" (TVRL) - "Free Romanian Television".

But TVR would unfortunately remain a propaganda instrument in the hands of the newly-created National Salvation Front (FSN), made up mostly of former second-rank Communists. FSN used TVRL, by far the most penetrating informational source at that time in Romania, to discredit protesters who were demanding a Communist-free government, denigrating them as "fascists". This culminated with the June 1990 riots in central Bucharest, crushed by the miners called in by president Ion Iliescu. After the riots ended, Iliescu was shown on TV congratulating the miners for "restoring law and order". Little after, following protests from the civil society, TVRL abandoned the designation "Free" (which had obviously become ridiculous) and reverted to its previous name TVR.

Funding and accusations

TVR is funded by direct government subsidies, by a TV licence tax mandatory for all holders of TV sets, and also from advertising. This has been deemed unfair competition by the commercial TV stations, which must rely exclusively on revenue from advertisement. Proposals have been made to outlaw advertising on the public TV channels.

TVR's administrative council is named by the government and the parliament. In its post-Communist history, TVR has been almost constantly suspected of submitting to government control and censorship. The latest allegations came as recently as the 2004 presidential and legislative elections, when TVR leadership was accused of favouring the incumbents PSD and Adrian Năstase.

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