Romania’s anti-Semitism czar on Thursday condemned what he called “fascist-style” attacks on the media by nationalist lawmakers and appealed to other parties to take a similar stance.
Five media watchdog protection groups also also criticized the group saying it amounted to „hate speech” against the media.
Alexandru Muraru, a government adviser and Liberal lawmaker warned that verbal attacks could degenerate into violence. “ I am appealing to all democratic parties to condemn this … lynching.”
He spoke after the far-right Alliance for Unity of Romanians (AUR) posted a message on social media on Wednesday saying” “Let’s have a look at the most toxic and fake press outlets. We’ll start the list with G4media. We invite you to come with more names!”
The Center for Independent Journalism, ActiveWatch, the Press Professionals of Cluj, Funky Citizens and the Mediasind Romanian Journalists’ Trade Union called it „an undemocratic act which creates a dangerous precedent. „
„Black lists are instruments of abuse in authoritarian states and ramp up the hate speech.”
Mr. Muraru, an outspoken critic of the group which came fourth in 2020 parliamentary elections, warned that criticism could turn into physical attacks on journalists and their families.
“The aggressors should be immediately sanctioned. Values and efforts (Romania) made in the last 2 decades must be protected,” he said.
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă added his voice on Thursday. He said his “government rejects… any attempt to intimidate journalists… and the idea of so-called toxic newsrooms.”
Last week, AUR party leader George Simion and his followers stormed into the city hall in the southwest city of Timisoara. They called for the removal of mayor Dominic Fritz, who’s German.
“We don’t need this kind of foreigner,” rioters shouted.
„This kind of violence could be repeated in newsrooms,” Mr Muraru said.
“What we are seeing now is a mirroring of the same extremist ideas and a rejection of us belonging to the European community. They are casting doubt on the benefits of our NATO membership. ”
“With a rise in geopolitical tensions in the area, this can’t be a simple coincidence.”