26 November 2004


Latest issue of satirical weekly disappears from newsstands

Incident details


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(RSF/IFEX) - On the mornings of 24 and 25 November 2004, almost half the print-run of the latest issue of the satirical weekly "Academia Catavencu" disappeared from newsstands. The copies were allegedly removed by members of the ruling Democratic Socialist Party (PSD).

The weekly's deputy editor-in-chief, Liviu Mihaiu, said PSD men were seen visiting newsstands throughout the country and buying up all the copies they could find. The issue contained "an investigative report that is damaging for Prime Minister and PSD presidential candidate Adrian Nastase," Mihaiu said. PSD spokesman Titus Corlatean denied the allegations.

"'Academia Catavencu', which is well known for its freewheeling style, was simply confiscated from its readers," RSF and the Media Monitoring Agency (MMA), a Romanian press freedom organisation, said. "This manoeuvre bodes ill for press freedom just a few days before the 28 November presidential elections," the organisations added.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that, according to a dozen Bucharest newspaper vendors, "men came early Wednesday morning to buy all the copies of 'Academia Catavencu'." The weekly was nowhere to be found at noon (local time) on 24 November, although copies are usually available until the weekend, AFP said.

This week's issue of "Academia Catavencu" also included a supplement consisting of a collection of "tributes" to former Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The tributes were first published in the 1970s and 1980s and were signed by such senior PSD leaders as Nastase, President Ion Iliescu and Deputy Prime Minister Ioan Talpes.


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