Romanian TV station OTV, owned by media mogul Dan Diaconescu (in picture), better known for his failed attempt to buy the country’s largest chemical producer Oltchim last year, will no longer broadcast as of yesterday, January 22, after the country’s Audiovisual watchdog withdrew its license. The Audiovisual body CNA decided to withdraw the station’s license after it failed to show it had paid all the fines applied since 2009. OTV, insolvent since March 2012, has received some RON 1.1 million in fines (the equivalent of EUR EUR 240,000) since 2009 .
The TV station, run by a company called Ocram Televiziune SRL, is on the list of must carry TV stations, meaning cable companies are obliged include it in their broadcasted programs. OTV’s license would have expired in March 2013.
The TV station ceased broadcasting on Tuesday (January 22 ), but appealed the decision. Dan Diaconescu is the main shareholder in OTV, with 80 percent of the shares. The TV station, said by commentators to fall below journalistic standards and use illegal practices, including for securing advertising, started broadcasting in 2001. It is the second time its license has been suspended, after a first such move in 2002. Dan Diaconescu also controls another TV station, DDTV, created the first time OTV’s license was suspended, and commentators expect him to move his main show, Dan Diaconescu live, onto this second channel.
Diaconescu is also a politician, having founded the party Dan Diaconescu People’s Party, which secured a few seats in the country’s Parliament in the last general elections in December 2012. Diaconescu himself failed to land a seat in the Parliament. The media investor tried to buy the Oltchim chemical producer last year, in a privatization process which was much debated. He won the bid but failed to pay for the company, instead turning the privatization into a media circus.