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Vol. 3, No. 2 (2021)

Journal of Romanian Studies, 3, no. 2 (2021)

Special issue: Media and Communication

Guest editors: Raluca Radu and Ioana A. Coman

Editors: Peter Gross, Svetlana Suveica, Iuliu Raţiu


Notes from the Editors (pp. 11-13)


Digital Revolution and De-Institutionalization in Central and Eastern Europe (pp. 15-20)

Paolo Mancini


Post-Communist Media Freedom and a New Monopoly on Truth (pp. 21-38)

Andrei Richter

The author suggests a set of legal instruments to enable freedom of the media in East, Central and South-East Europe. The failure to introduce and fully implement these instruments has led to the governments’ increased grip on the media and information flows. Additional possibilities to limit freedom of information have been provided by the current global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The article argues that the media capture in parts of the region leads to an establishment of a state monopoly on information and eventually to a monopoly on truth.

Public Opinion, Mass Media, and Foreign Policy of the Republic of Moldova: Between the Two Realms (pp. 39-62)

Alla Rosca

This paper examines public opinion among Moldovans regarding their country’s foreign policy and the role the mass media play in its formation. A logistic regression analysis indicates that trust in the Russian media that are present in Moldova strongly correlates with foreign policy opinion and trust in foreign leaders. Media consumption did not correlate significantly with any foreign policy decisions. In addition, the findings show a strong correlation between political preference and foreign policy opinion. The overall results support the Almond-Lippmann consensus that public opinion is volatile and does not have structure or coherence.#

Striving and Surviving: Romanian Journalism on the Quest for Funding Models (pp. 63-80)

Marius Dragomir, Manuela Preoteasa, Dumitrița Holdiș, Cristina Lupu

During the past decade, Romania’s media market has been experiencing massive shifts, particularly when it comes to its funding models. As elsewhere, these changes were triggered to a large degree by technological advances. The financial health of Romania’s media was also affected by local factors, including business practices, changes in government spending and media consumption patterns. This article describes the key trends in journalism funding in Romania in recent years and takes stock of the impact that the Covid-19 crisis is having on the industry’s financial health to understand the salient fi-nancial threats and opportunities that the country’s independent journalism is likely to face in the near future.

Romanian-language Conspiracy Narratives: Safeguarding the Nation and the People (pp. 81-109)

Onoriu Colăcel

The article investigates Romanian-language conspiracy narratives as tell-tale signs of foreign media influences and culture-bound knowledge claims. News and opinion samples are considered in order to analyze conspiracy theorizing in the commercial media of Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Conspiratorial discourses are traced to tropes and trends in the Romanian literary culture. They permeate conspiracy thinking across public discourses about the nation. The findings suggest that anxieties over the wellbeing of the country and its people are underlying local conspiracism. Ultimately, they tie in with concerns central to Romanian-language cultures.

Measuring Pseudoscience in Online Media: A Case Study on Romanian Websites (pp. 111-128)

Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu

Abstract: To limit the negative effects of pseudoscience in public discourse, it may be useful to classify/quantify the occurrence of pseudoscientific topics – so that sources of such discourse may be effi-ciently identified and addressed. Here, the occurrence of 15 topics representative of pseudoscientific subjects is analyzed in a set of online mass-media pages in Romanian language. Correlations are found between some topics, yielding two main sets, centered on threats either to life/health or to identity/existence. The latter set appears innate to Romanian-language media, whereas the former do not. None of the 15 pseudoscience terms, nor their average or their total occurrence, correlate with the number of views of the respective websites – thus suggesting that pseudoscience alone is not a predictor of commercial success in Romanian-language online media.

Media Sources and Dissidents in the Romanian Revolution of 1989 (pp. 129-143)

Lucian-Vasile Szabo

This study highlights the way in which the media, particularly foreign outlets, contributed to Romania’s regime change in December 1989. Both news and the opinion articles and broadcasts appearing in the foreign Romanian language media are analysed, with a focus on broad- casts made from countries contiguous to Romania, as some of them could be received by its citizens. The study also examines the protest movement that began in Timisoara, correlated to the stances taken by a number of Romanian dissidents in and outside the country against Nicolae Ceauşes- cu’s dictatorial regime and in support of fundamental rights and liberties. Despite the terror, the hunger and widespread shortages, and in spite of the regime’s extremely harsh repressive measures, there were always indi- viduals who raised their voices against abuses. Their messages were picked up and amplified by the media outside the country. This was a difficult process, sometimes marked by errors and confusion. Nevertheless, the for- eign media, accessed clandestinely, by played an important role in chang- ing the course of history in December 1989.

Romanian Journalists’ Perception of Freedom of the Press and the Role Played by the Media in Countering Fake News (pp. 145-164)

Antonio Momoc

Abstract: This study is a preliminary investigation into the Romanian journalists’ perception of the role that newspeople play in identifying and fighting fake news. Prominent Romanian journalists were asked about the challenges of media digitalization, editorial independence during the economic crisis, how newsrooms relate to the fake news phenomenon, why they believe that some news websites are misinfor-mational, their own trust in the media, and journalists’ responsibility regarding media education, fact-checking, and countering fake news.


Socialism under Scrutiny: Juggling Time, Planned Economy, and Heritage (review by Dana Domșodi) (pp. 165-168):

  • Alina Cucu. Planning labour. Time and the foundations of industrial socialism in Romania. New York: Berghahn Books 2019. 246 pp.
  • Emanuela Grama. Socialist Heritage: the Politics of Past and Place in Bucharest. Bloominton: Indiana University Press 2019. 247 pp.

James Kapaló and Tatiana Vagramenko eds. Hidden Galleries: Material Religion in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe. Zurich, LIT Verlag, 2020, 104 pp. (review by Roland Clark) (pp. 169-170)

Călin Cotoi. Inventing the Social in Romania, 1848–1914: Networks and Laboratories of Knowledge. Leiden: Brill, 2020. 278 pp. (review by R. Chris Davis) (pp. 171-173)

Ágoston Berecz. Empty Signs, Historical Imaginaries. The Entangled Nationalization of Names and Naming in a Late Habsburg Borderland. New York: Berghahn Books, 2020. 350 pp. (review by Anca Șincan) (pp. 175-176)


Unexpected Encounters and Turnin Points (pp. 177-180)

Mihaela Gligor

Tribute for Mac Linscott Ricketts at 90 (pp. 181-183)

Doulas Allen

Encounters with Mac Linscott Ricketts and Mircea Eliade (pp. 183-191)

Liviu Bordaș

A Destiny on a Barricade (pp. 191-192)

Sebastian Doreanu

Mac Linscott Ricketts’ Translation of Eliade from Romanian into English (pp. 193-208)

Bryan Rennie