Romania

 CountryType of Law 
 
 

Criminal Defamation

No provisions.

Defamation and insult were repealed as criminal offences in Romania with the adoption of the new Romanian Criminal Code in Jan. 2014.

 

Criminal Defamation of Public Officials

No provisions.

 

Criminal Defamation of the Head of State

No provisions.

 

Criminal Defamation of the State and its Symbols

No provisions.

However, Art. 30, par. 7 of the Romanian Constitution states that defamation of the state and the nation shall be prohibited by law.

 

Criminal Defamation of Foreign States and Symbols

No provisions.

 

Criminal Defamation of the Deceased

No provisions.

 

Criminal Blasphemy

No provisions.

However, it is noted that Art. 382 of the Romanian Criminal Code prohibits the desecration of a place or object of worship belonging to a religious denomination recognised by law. The punishment is a fine or imprisonment from six months to two years.

 

Criminal Procedure

 

Statistics on Application

 

Civil Defamation

Romania does not have a specific law on civil defamation.

Article 30(6) of the Romanian Constitution provides that freedom of expression shall not not be prejudicial to the dignity, honour, privacy and to the right to a person’s own image. Article 70 of the in accordance with Romanian law and with any international human rights treaties or conventions to which Romania has acceded. In addition, Art. 75 states that the exercise of constitutional rights and liberties in good faith (bună-credinţă) shall not be considered a violation of these rights (i.e. freedom of expression, plus personality rights).

With respect to the personality rights mentioned above, Art. 72 of the Civil Code establishes that all persons have the right to dignity (demnitate). Art. 73 protects a person’s right to his or her own image and prohibits the reproduction and use of a person’s voice without his or her consent.

Art. 74 offers examples of acts that infringe upon the right to private life, including:

  • Broadcasting news, debates, inquiries or journalistic investigations, written or audio visual, regarding a person’s intimate, private, or family life without that person’s consent;
  • Making public certain details regarding a person’s health without the consent of the subject or of his or her family if the person is deceased;
  • Using in mala fide (bad faith) the name, image, voice or resemblance to another person.
  • Broadcasting or using the correspondence, manuscripts, or other personal documents, without the person’s consent

Finally, Art. 79 prescribes that the memory of a person is protected in the same manner as if the person were alive.

Damages

There are no caps on non-pecuniary damages for defamation in Romanian law.

Art. 253 of the Civil Code the possible remedies in the case of the violation of extrapatrimonial (i.e., non-material/non-property) rights, such as the rights to dignity and privacy.[4] According to that provision, victims may request that the court:

i. prohibit the committing of the unlawful act, if imminent;
ii. order the unlawful act to be ceased, and prohibit its repetition in the future;
iii. proclaim the unlawful nature of the act;
iv. order the offender to perform actions necessary to reestablish the victim’s rights, including the ordering of the court’s judgment or any other measures deemed necessary to end the illegal act; and/or
v. oblige the offender to pay monetary compensation for the damage caused.

In the case the violation occurred through the exercise of free speech, however, the court may not order remedy (i).

Art. 256(2) allows certain family members to initiate action on behalf of a deceased person. Art. 257 establishes that the provisions in Art. 253 also apply to legal persons.

Statutory defences

There is no specific regulation of defamation under Romanian civil law, and no defences are provided (however, see information on Art. 75 of the Civil Code, above).

It is noted that Art. 76 prescribes a “presumption of consent” for dealings with the media. It states that if a person gives information or material to another person known to work in the field of informing the public, consent to publish that material is presumed, and no written consent is required (Art. 76).

Media Cases and Case Law

 

Recent Legal Changes

Defamation and insult were repealed as criminal offences in Romania with the adoption of the new Romanian Criminal Code in Jan. 2014.

The removal of defamation and insult from the Romanian Criminal Code was the subject of a complicated legal discussion in recent years. In 2006, the Romanian Parliament voted to abolish defamation and insult as criminal offences, but the act was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in 2007. In 2010, the High Court of Justice weighed in and stated that criminal defamation and insult had been abolished. But in 2013 the Constitutional Court ruled that the High Court had contradicted the Constitutional Court’s earlier decision and that defamation and insult remained criminal offences. This decision, however, applied only to the previous criminal code. The back-and-forth finally ended with the adoption of the new Code.

 

Notes and Acknowledgements

Information on defamation laws in Europe was collected by the International Press Institute (IPI) in collaboration with the School of Public Policy’s Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University in Budapest and their partners at the SHARE Foundation in Belgrade. (Read more about our partners here.)

The information contained in this database is for informational and advocacy purposes only. If you are a journalist facing a defamation claim, you should seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. However, if you are unable to find such an attorney, IPI may be able to assist you in doing so. Please contact us at ipi[at]freemedia.at.

Information on Romania was last updated in January 2015.

 

 guarantees the right to freedom of expression. As per Art. 75, this right, as well as all personality rights (including the right to dignity, see below) See, e.g. R. D. Popescu, “Constitutionalisation of Civil Law: The Right to Respect for Private Life and Human Dignity”, AGORA International Journal of Juridical Sciences,No. 1 (2013), pp. 150-156.
See Valentima Chiper, “Protection of Extrapatrimonial Rights in the new Civil Code”, International Journal of Juridical Sciences, No. 2 (2013), pp. 52-57.
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