- Posted January 30, 2013 by
Media Organisations Letter regarding the Cyanide Referendum in Romania
On the 29th of January 2013, the Save Rosia Montana Campaign sent, on behalf of Alburnus Maior Association, an open letter to the organisations which monitor the written and online press in Romania. The letter was concerned with the way in which the different types of media from Romania reflected the results of the referendum which was held on the 9th of December 2012, in 35 administrative units from Alba County. The Referendum was organised in order to consult the citizens in the 35 localities in connection with restarting mining in the Apuseni Mountains and commencing the project which Rosia Montana Gold Corporation Company has been trying to implement in the area, in order to extract the reserves of gold and silver in an open cast mine, by procedures involving cyanide processing.
The letter outlines the fact that the journalists, present in a singnificant number in the voting sections, limited their activity to reporting the press releases of Alba County Electoral Commission. The letter shows the fact that the journalists did not report any incidents during the voting process, even if many irregularities were noticed by observers who monitored 67 of the sections. One of the gravest facts presented in the letter is the procedure of many media institutions of announcing the results of an opinion poll as the actual results of the referendum.
Thus, a large part of the media announced that 74% of the population in the 35 localities was in favour of restarting mining and of the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation project. The letter offers some very relevant examples in this sense. Through this modality of presenting the alleged results of the referendum, the public was made to believe that more than 70% of the population in the 35 localities were in favour of restarting mining and that a large part of the population voted in the referendum. In fact, according to the official results presented by Alba County Electoral Commission on the 10th of December, only 43,2% of the people voted, 62,45% of them being in favour of restarting mining in the Apuseni Mountains.
The journalists and the media organisations persisted in their endeavour of misinforming the public. After the official results of the referendum were released, there were no articles or any kind of news to straighten the numbers given as correct the day before. It is the duty of any honest journalist to correct any erroneous piece of information they had released. In plus, even if Save Rosia Montana Campaign sent their point of view in the matter of the referendum to the media organisations, this was constantly ignored, only the positions in favour of RMGC company being released. The spreading of incorrect information continued after the day of the referendum. Different publications announced the fact that the value of Gabriel Resources stock increased at Toronto stock exchange market. Actually, the value of the Gabriel Resources stock decreased after the referendum. However, there was no correction of this piece of information in the publication which had released it either. The articles and the news concerning the referendum can very well be considered publicity for RMGC, given their content.
Save Rosia Montana Campaign draws the attention on the fact that the presentation of the
referendum in the Romanian press is just another example of the way in which Rosia
Montana case was reflected in the media during the last years. Thus, the Campaign
considers that the organisations that monitor the press in Romania have the duty to express a firm position related to the way in which certain publications reflect the evolution in time of the situation from Rosia Montana.
Alburnus Maior' is a community NGO based at Rosia Montana. It was founded in September 2000 by villagers from Rosia Montana and Bucium to oppose Gabriel Resources' gold mine (TXS-GBU) proposal which entails the destruction of Rosia Montana and its surroundings.
The association's opposition is based on social, environmental, cultural and economic
Alburnus Maior is the initiator of the 'Save Rosia Montana' campaign, Romania's most
significant environmental initiative. The 'Save Rosia Montana!' campaign enjoys the active support of Romanian environmental NGOs and institutions. Over the years this campaign has organised multiple actions, events and and alerts to draw attention to the inherent risks associated with the develoment of the mine proposal