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Sexually explicit

imagery in Romanian

 Legal framework
 Organizational issues
 Pornographic images and mass media
 The consumer and public opinion
 Conclusions

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
Legal framework
 Laws on preventing and fighting
against pornography: 196/2003 and

 Pornography refers to the “explicit sexual gestures or

behaviors, individually as well as collectively made,
images, sounds or words that through their meaning
offence decency and any other form of indecent behavior
related to sexual life, if they are made in public”
 Materials with obscene character refer to objects,
engravings, photos, holograms, drawings, writings,
prints, emblems, magazines, movies, video and audio
recordings, advertising spots, software and other
applications, musical songs and any other forms of
expressing, that explicitly present or suggest the
Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
Legal framework
 “Indirect” regulations
 Law for prevention and fighting against human
trafficking and prostitution
 On children's rights - in line with international

 Media laws
 European (EU Directive of Television without
frontiers) and local ones
 Law of Broadcasting/1992 - programs including
pornography and unjustified violence are forbidden
 There is no Romanian law dedicated to written press
Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
Organizational issues
 Radio and Television are the most supervised
media due to control activity from National
Council of Audio-Visual
 NCA has the right to sanction the broadcasters
for inappropriate content of the programs

 Printed press is not subject of direct control

 Ethic code of journalist elaborated by Romanian
Press Club
 Responsibility of the publishing houses

 Weak activity from civil organizations: e.g.

Media Monitoring Agency - human rights advocacy
NGO with media expertise
Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
Printed press
 The Romanian press is the (almost) free media
territory for erotic/pornographic images, either
open or induced

Self-assumed Highest audience Disguised

pornographic press in Romania pornographic press

weekly title

Monthly men magazines General daily newspapers

Tabloid format

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
Printed press
 Tabloid-type of newspapers deliver daily images with women
bodies, this distorted image getting to be perceived as a
familiar and normal thing

 weather forecast in Libertatea

 2004, qualitative study (Grunberg) conducted on two daily

newspapers, Adevarul & Libertatea, revealed the following:

 from a total of 366 articles having women as main subject, 18

regarded women as sexual objects
 from a total of 325 advertisements for work-places, 8 of them
referred to video-chat and 6 to “dancing”, addressing to women

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
 Advertising is the other inexhaustible source when it
comes to sexually explicit images - video or audio spots
or printed layouts
 Case study - TV spot for Kreskova vodka, male targeted

QuickTime™ and a
YUV420 codec decompressor
are needed to see this picture.

 almost naked women with purely decorative role; they stand

for the sublimed effect of the vodka, personifying the
benefit of the drink - reliable friend - “Vodka Kreskova!
My Russian comrade!”
 Women are presented through and for their body, and are
there for satisfying the man’s desires
Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
 Outdoor posters

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
The consumers
 Audience of self-assumed pornographic magazines is
predominantly male
 Tabloids have a more balanced distribution of audience by
Audie nce of magaz i ne s and ne wspapers


76.1 82.6


23.9 29 48.2

Playboy FHM Fanatik Libert atea Libert atea

Men Women

Source: NSA - January 2007-January 2008

 The “hard-core” consumer of pornographic material - Cultural

Consumption Barometer (07-08)

 1% (self-declared)
 General profile: man residing in urban areas who frequently
watches action and comedy movies on TV; he does not buy books,
does not spend money on “cultural consumption” items and prefers
buying new technology gadgets instead
Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
media Public Opinion
 2005, CURS national survey: 40% of the population agreed to the
idea of pornographic materials distributed for free on the media
 Internet survey, November 2007:
Do you feel yourself aggressed by the pornographic press? Do you consider that this type of media has to be

They are imoral and damaging for our society 18%

It is unacceptable to see the at the news stalls


They do not disturb me as titles but I do not like to 17%

see their indecent covers

They do not disturb me. I consider them normal 56%

Source: Internet survey (available at

 2007 INSOMAR national survey :

 80% from the respondents assessed that explicit sexuality in the content
of TV programs lead to “children’s premature sexual behaviors”
 The most frequent promoted values in TV programs are:
“violence” 60%
“sexuality” 34%

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
 Sexually explicit images are common message - they
emerge as a new form of popular culture: “Sexual
discourse has been repositioned as public discourse”
(Winship, 2000)

 From a sociological perspective, the effervescence

of erotic /pornographic images can be explain by
their burst out after total interdiction in the
communist regime

 The phenomenon has reverberations even in the

literature field, where a “new wave” of
erotic/pornographic literature caused inflamed
polemics on the boundaries between eroticism and
pornography in art

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian
 Tabloid-type of newspapers and the sexual content on the
internet sites are the main agents of the
“pornographication” (McNair) of the Romanian media

 Limited democratic tradition of Romania turns into:

 Insufficient regulations for protecting human and especially
women dignity
 Insufficient activity of the state institutions for applying the
existent regulations
 Incipient stage of development of the civil society
 Extremely weak social responsibility of the media actors

 The public discourse (not only in the Media) cultivates the

blurring boundaries between public and private life,
between sexual information and pornography, and also among
problematic concepts like nudity, eroticism and pornography

 Very little research interest in this issue, considered a

niche for the feminists