Tracing the unseen in post-communist Romanian television

Daniela Mustata
2015 Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis  
Daniela Mustata TRACING THE UNSEEN IN POST-COMMUNIST ROMANIAN TELEVISION During the 1989 Romanian Revolution, the state television fell in the spotlight of the fight for a new democratic order. After decades of serving as the main mechanism of disinformation and control, the public and immediate change of sides during the revolutionary events of the public television, transformed the institution into a measurement unit for the consequent democratic evolution of Romania. The few minutes in which
more » ... a nation witnessed the news presenter, Teodor Brates changed his speech from 'the terrorist riots are under control' to 'we have won, the dictatorship has fallen', appeared to mark the beginning of a new era. They also marked the beginning of the televised revolution, an event that complemented the street revolution in complex ways. Considering the sudden change the public television advocated: from the status of an instrument of disinformation and control to the status of a mediator and leading actor in a democratic change, it is relevant to question the extent to which post-communist Romanian television was a conservative institution that facilitated the transfer and the preservation of communist resources into the new system. The present study will therefore attempt to analyze a potential conservative status of public service television that may have coexisted with a rather modernizing function of the medium. To which extent did post-communist Romanian television contribute to the conservation of the old regime and how did its possible conservative status reconcile with the modernising role the institution took up in the wake of the 1989 Revolution? During this pursue, there will mainly be taken a deconstructive, historical perspective centred on a prosopographical approach meant to reconstitute the (biographical) continuities that key actors ensured within the public service television. Since the analyses will try to identify and justify two apparently contrasting roles of Romanian television, the deconstructive perspective will be used so as to break down democratic structures into their corresponding practices, which will, in turn, help identify the complexities behind the functionality of television. The deconstructive approach will also be justified by the theoretical discussion on the Habermasian public sphere which appropriated to the specific Romanian case, will allow for a critical stand against a symptomatic reading | 123 124 | t m g -9 [1] 2006 21 December 1989: Ceausescu's televised speech appears also in main communist daily. Source: Scanteia Tineretului, 21 December 1989
doi:10.18146/tmg.181 fatcat:sh4bjuwwjbevpdaaauncprs5v4