The communist censorship drastically reduced the number of daily newspapers, as well as the broadcast hours of the national television channel and the activity of the public publishing houses in Romania. After December 1989, the media sector faced a boom unparalleled by any other field of the Romanian society. The transition from the communist information control to the complete freedom of speech resulted in the rapid increase of the number of private newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, radio stations, television networks or news agencies.
Printed media (books, newspapers, magazines)
In what regards the written media, there are over 500 newspapers and magazines (allegedly somewhere between 1500 and 2000), of which 15 are central (national) and around 90 are local and regional dailies. In the 1990s, the main national dailies (Adevărul, România Liberă, Evenimentul Zilei, Ziua, Curierul Național etc) sold more than one million copies a day. Nowadays we are facing a decline of the central media and a multiplication of the local newspapers, as well as a tendency for online newspapers instead of traditional ones. This is connected to the increasing competition from television and the Internet. Moreover, the main interest is now directed towards cheap tabloids (Click, Libertatea), which lead the top of the daily circulation, or sport newspapers (ProSport, Gazeta Sporturilor).
There is also a small number of newspapers published in the languages of ethnic minorities, especially Hungarian and German. There are very few Romanian publications in foreign languages of international circulation, such as Nine O’Clock in English http://www.nineoclock.ro/, Bucarest Hebdo in French http://www.bucarest-hebdo.ro/ and Sette Giorni in Italian http://www.sette-giorni.ro/. However, at the main newsstands you can find the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal Europe, Financial Times, as well as recent editions of the Time, Newsweek and The Economist, among other international publications.
The majority of the news organizations, including newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television networks, are supplied with relevant information by the news agencies, among which the most important one in Romania are AGERPRES, Mediafax, NewsIn, HotNews, RADOR and Amos News.
Television and Radio Networks
In Romania, cable and digital television is available in all the urban regions and in almost all the rural areas, as there is at least one TV set in each household. There is a great number of national and international channels, as a reaction to the fact that most of Romanians use the TV as the main means of relaxation and information. The numerous options of channels, be them generalist or more specialized ones, will surely meet the needs and desires of all viewers.
The state-owned television (Televiziunea Română) and radio company (Societatea Română de Radiodifuziune), unlike the private networks, have a country-wide coverage and also own the AGERPRES national news agency. The public television operates several national channels: TVR1, TVR2, TVR Cultural and TVR International. The same thing holds true for the state-run radio network, which includes more national radio stations, such as Radio România Actualități, Radio Romania Cultural, Radio 3Net, Radio România Muzical, as well Radio România International and other regional and local stations.
TVR is outrun by two private television channels: Antena 1 and ProTV, which also broadcast internationally. The private mass-media revolves around major companies, with smaller, independent ones stealing a portion of their audience. Antena 1 is owned by Intact Media Group, which includes 5 other TV channels, 3 newspapers, 6 magazines and 2 radio stations (RadioZu and RomanticFM). ProTV is part of Central European Media Enterprises, which also owns Acasă, ProTV International, Pro Cinema and Sport.ro television channels, as well as MTV and Pro FM radio stations. Other important media companies refer to Realitatea-Cațavencu (with Realitatea TV, Romantica and The Money Channel), Centrul Național Media (with Național TV, N24 and Favorit TV) and SBS Broadcasting Group (with Prima TV and Kiss TV). There is a big number of specialized TV channels, depending on the viewers’ preferences. The most important music channels are MTV, UTV and KissTV, while Antena 3 and Realitatea broadcast mainly news and talk shows, being heavily politicized. DigiSport, Sport.ro and GSP TV are men’s favourite, while Acasă, Romantica and Euforia Lifestyle TV are specialized on soap operas and target the feminine public. Additionally, in Romania there are many international foreign-language channels broadcasted in their original language, but with Romanian subtitles. If you are a fan of cinema, you might enjoy a movie on HBO, AXN, MGM Channel, while the Discovery Channel or National Geographic will surely quench your thirst for knowledge.
In what regards the radio stations, KissFM, broadcasting more commercial music, Europa FM, Radio România Actualități and RadioZu record over 1 million listeners per day. Other major networks include Radio21, ProFM, Radio Guerrilla or MagicFM.
Romania has the second fastest Internet speed in the world. There are 7,8 million connections to the Internet in Romania, as there is a tendency in moving away from the traditional media and replacing it to online information sources. The majority of newspapers have online editions, while other new publications exist only on the Internet. The major television channels and radio stations have updated websites and offer live streams of their programmes.
In what regards the Internet access, most of the hotels and recently more and more restaurants, fast-foods, bars and even public square offer free wireless connection, which allows you to automatically connect to the Internet using your own laptop. Light-travelling tourists who do not bring their own „gears” can also use internet cafes, but they are becoming less and less frequent.