Big time waste and corruption in Romania by the European Union – Part two

Editor’s note: This article is part of a series of investigative journalism of AVfM Romania. Part one can be read here. This article first appeared on AVfM Romania.

We continue today with the second part of the series started on AVfM Romania in which we aim to document the waste of taxpayers’ money that takes place in Romania in the name of helping women—a waste that at the end of the day helps neither women nor the society as a whole. A waste that helps solely the group of ideologues who populates many NGOs as well as an extended clique of corrupted individuals financed by an ideologically driven European Union.

We will focus today on the project called Media Fem—Școala Națională de Jurnalism (Media Fem—The National School of Journalism)—a project that was intensely promoted on almost all online platforms, but a project about which nobody asked the right questions: namely, why? and who? The question of who is one with a very complicated answer but an answer that the public must be aware of. So we will patiently analyze who are the initiators of this project and then will answer the question of why? after we have examined the context of the project.

The initiators

According to the press communiques1, the project is initiated by the firm SC Blockbuster Media SRLnote 1 in partnership with The Association “Jurnalism pentru Șanse Egale” (JSE—Journalism for Equal Opportunities) and is co-funded by the main instrument of wasting Romanian and EU taxpayers’ money—POSDRUnote 2—through the contract registered as POSDRU/144/6.3/S/129408, with a total eligible value of 17,129,034 RON (3.9 million €).

The Association “Jurnalism pentru Șanse Egale” (JSE) appears in the National Registry of NGOs with the number 754/A/2013 as founded on March 25, 2013, and as having Ms. Tane Petra Lavinia in the position of president2. The POSDRU that we are analyzing was signed on April 30, 2014, which is just a little after this association hit the one-year-of – “activity” mark3.

img2We have put “activity” in scare quotes because a short search filtering for news before April 1 this year offers us exactly zero results mentioning this organization. Yet, despite having one year of doing literally nothing, this organization suddenly finds itself in the position of being a partner in managing a project worth over 17 million RON (3.9 million €).

The only online presence of JSE dating before the commencement of this project dates from April 15 this year when they created a Facebook page for the organization4, a  img1Facebook page in which they posted exactly nothing until after the half of May (see the image). We can, therefore, state without fear of being wrong that JSE is an NGO that came out of nowhere and whose activity is essentially non-existent.

The solicitor, SC Blockbuster Media SRL, is, on the other hand, an entity with nine years of activity on the market (and founded 12 years ago), which is already specialized in projects aimed at wasting the taxpayers’ money to the benefit of the feminist ideology and to the detriment of the society as a whole.

A closer look at this firm opens the floodgates to an entire subkingdom of legal entities that have swallowed public funds in the past as well, and all the ties seem to be leading to the person of Ms. Roxana Grămadă, who happens to be, amongst other things, the JSE’s vice-president5 and who has a leadership position (project manager) within Blockbuster Media SRL. Although we understand that Ms. Grămadă is an empowered, strong, and independent woman, we cannot avoid noticing that being so empowered that she has made a partnership essentially with herself to stifle taxpayers’ money is, at the very least, immoral.

The same Ms. Grămadă also occupied the position of corporate affairs consultant at Realitatea Media around the same time that she was conducting with Blockbuster Media another series of feminist-inspired projects through which a new generation of future journalists were trained in the feminist dogma using taxpayers’ money between 2010 and 2012. A pile of coincidences! (Translator’s note: Grămadă means pile in Romanian, the same as the woman’s name.)


We look on this graphic and see that Blockbuster Media reported in 2011 a record profit for its existence of 640,718 RON (around 146,000€), then in 2012 a negative profit of 155,593 RON (35,400€), and in 2013 a minuscule profit of 7968 RON (under 2000€). Where these extreme variations come from shall be explained in great detail in a future episode. But we will mention right now that 2011 is the year Blockbuster Media became directly involved in projects aimed at training journalists in the feminist ideology using taxpayers’ money.

Until this year, Blockbuster Media coordinated the project “FEMINA—Training for journalists, TV Shows, Monitoring, National Informing and Advocacy for affirmation of gender equality and equality of opportunity”—a project also funded through POSDRU in partnership with the Association for the Promotion of Women in Romania (APFR) and the National Institute of Opinion Research Studies and Marketing (INSOMAR). Apparently, Blockbuster Media did such a terrific job with FEMINA that the European Union decided to hand them another big bag of money to continue with an almost identical project.

The FEMINA project lasted for three years and cost the Romanian government around 2.2 million RON (500,000€) and the European Union a bit over 17.6 million RON, having a total eligible value of 20,896,919 lei (4.8 million euros)6. At that time, the main result of the project was the entrance into the public knowledge of the statistic according to which “8% of the women who decided to have a baby have lost their jobs.”

Besides the fact that we don’t know how many men are in this situation (or even if those women really lost their job as a consequence of their pregnancy), the number itself is based on a research report issued by INSOMAR, which published it after being paid with money from the FEMINA project. The report was sumptuously presented by university professor Dr. Gheorghe Teodorescu—the same Gheorghe Teodorescu who is the subject of a criminal trial by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate after allegedly repeatedly having forged public and private documents7,8.

In other words, the whole ”study” is made under the careful guidance of an individual with questionable credibility at the very least. Also, INSOMAR as an institution is hardly credible—as it’s being controlled by PSV Company, a corporation that also owns share in Realitatea Media9 (strange curiosity—exactly the same place where Ms. Grămadă was a corporate affairs consultant in the same period). PSV Company is the former Petromservice, formerly despoiled of roughly 83 million euros by the controversial Sorin Ovidiu Vântu—just so we know what and who are we talking about.

But regardless of these facts, the meme that “8% of the women who decided to have a baby have lost their jobs” has reached the point when it is being used in the media—in many cases without a source, or at best referenced back to INSOMAR—and it is being taught as an unquestionable fact in universities. Knowing what we know about INSOMAR, we consider that the number has the same level of credibility as Ceaușescu’s statistics regarding yearly corn or tractor production. But even if the number is true, it still doesn’t say anything about the context of the number. But this is a topic for another time.

Coming back to Blockbuster Media, it is at the very least weird that neither the EU nor the Romanian government noticed that Roxana Grămadă’s name is everywhere. In 2011, she was the main contact person for acquisitions in the FEMINA project for Blockbuster Media10, and nowadays she is the project manager for the same firm and the vice-president (and founder) of the partner NGO. If nobody noticed this, then this is further evidence how inefficient (besides being harmful) the redistribution mechanism of the EU really is. If this aspect was noticed and ignored, then we’re dying to find out why this was ignored, and we consider that it is in the public interest to know this aspect.

The project—is it really necessary?

Now that we know who we’re dealing with, let’s take a look at the ideological and practical dimension of the project.

The Media Fem project takes place over a period of 18 months and consists, essentially, of a series of courses aimed at 756 women, of which 140 of them media experts, from the Bucharest-Ilfov and South-Muntenia areas11.

The project aims to qualify only women for jobs like reporter, camera operator, imaging editor, broadcast director, cosmetician, hair stylist, and data operator—and a portion of the participants will also get subsidies and prizes. Although it is an overtly sexist project, it pretends that its objective is12:

[…] promoting the principle of equal opportunity and gender equality in the media community both through educating its active members as well as through qualifying those who already work in the field or wish to enter into this community.

At the end of July, the president of JSE, Lavinia Tane, a partner in this project, was invited on to RFI to talk generally on the topic of gender equality and equality of opportunity and about the Media Fem project13. From the interview, we find out that Ms. Tane worked for Realitatea (what a coincidence!) and was also part of an internship held by CNN (maybe she learned the feminist language there?). But more important in that interview are the three big moments of brutal honesty that Ms. Tane displays.

The first moment is right at the beginning of the interview when she admits that any structural problems that might exist in the Romanian media are applicable to both men and women. This is undoubtedly a true statement. But in this context, why is Media Fem still necessary when it aims to train only women?

The second moment is at the 18-minute mark, where Ms. Tane admits that the women in Romania are overwhelmingly of the opinion that there is no such thing as gender discrimination in the workplace and if they, as women, have an issue in the workplace, then that issue has other causes and is unrelated to their sex. Yet this fact is then twisted by Lavinia Tane and cited as evidence that her NGO must change the way women think! Even if the women already said loud and clear that they don’t need that. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Feminism has always acted regardless of whether women wanted it or not because the purpose of feminism is money, influence, and political power—not helping women.

And this aspect was admitted by Ms. Tane in her third moment of brutal honesty—at the 26-minute mark when she says loud and clear that the Media Fem project is aimed at the TV industry precisely because TV is the most influential medium of broadcasting information.

Reading through the fervor of the press communiques and the doublespeak like “We want equality—therefore, we will qualify exclusively women,” one would think that the women in Romanian journalism are rarae aves. But that’s not true. Not even by a long shot.

Let’s take a look at the universities. The universities don’t publicize the sex of their students, but the great advantage of Romanian names is that one can easily figure out the sex of the student in almost all of the cases. Last year, for instance, 92% of the students admitted with a public scholarship to the Journalism section of the Bucharest University were women14.

Of the 56 students admitted this year at the same university and section, 50 are women. That is 89%. And if we exclude the man admitted through the affirmative action reserved place for gypsies, the percentage of women admitted through the competition in which the equality of opportunity is guaranteed goes as high as 91%. On the tuition-based spots, 52 of the 64 students admitted are also women. That is over 81%. Cumulated, public scholarship plus those on tuition, we have 85% of the future qualified journalists admitted this year in Bucharest being women15.

But maybe Bucharest is more coquettish and more cosmopolitan. So let’s look at Iași, an undoubtedly more traditionalist place. This summer, 34 out of the 40 students admitted on a public scholarship to the Journalism section of the Letters Faculty from the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University from Iași were women16. In the tuition-based spots, 73 out of the 83 students admitted were also women17. If we add the two, we reach a staggering number of 87% of the future journalists from Iași being women.

Considering these undeniable realities, how is it justifiable to spend almost 9 million euros (FEMINA + Media Fem), taxpayers’ money, in the past four years on seminaries and journalism qualification courses dedicated exclusively to women?

The very existence of this project is the equivalent of spending 9 million euros to encourage men to seek employment in the IT industry (a flourishing industry in Romania). Just like men don’t need help to get into IT because they do pretty well for themselves, the same is true for women who don’t need help to get into journalism because the reality shows unequivocally that they do pretty well for themselves on their own.

In this country, anyone who dreams of becoming a news anchor, regardless of their sex, dreams to be Andreea Esca. The most important economic analysis magazine, Capital, is headed by a woman—Oana Osman18. The most important annual event dedicated to radio productions in Europe—Prix Europa from Berlin—just nominated for the grand prize the production Maria Tănase—Urban Soundtrack For a Diva, a documentary made by a woman about a great woman of the Romanian music19.

Given these realities, to assert that there is no equal opportunity in the Romanian media or, worse than that, to assert that there is a discrimination trend against women in the Romanian media and that women are insufficiently represented is nothing short of an ideologically driven bald-faced lie.

The Romanian media has its problems—and the list of problems isn’t short at all and some of them are typical for the media milieu in ex-communist countries. But the Romanian media also has a few essentially fantastic characteristics that cannot be found in many EU countries.

One of these characteristics is the fact that it’s significantly freer. In the Romanian media, one can speak freely about a plethora of topics without fearing a torrent of whining and allegations of racism/classism/sexism, or other ideological marottes. On TV in Romania, one can still say that men and women, both as individuals and as groups, are fundamentally different, and by saying that, both the public and the anchor know exactly what one means. Such a statement in Romania doesn’t come with the risk of having the newspapers write the next day that “X said last night on TV that he hates women”—as it is unfortunately the case in many corners of the European Union.

Following the modus operandi of the projects orchestrated by Blockbuster Media,we can only conclude that this reality is bothering the ideologues in Brussels who, through the obedience of the authorities in Bucharest, are willing to pour mountains of cash in order to indoctrinate the next generation of journalists and transform the press as we know it today into one that is even more inept than it is today and into one that will be willing to butcher the truth even more in order to fit into the ideological straitjacket of feminism.

But is Blockbuster Media an ideologically driven institution? As the facts presented in this article show, this is most likely not the case. We believe that not even the president of JSE is ideologically motivated, even if she has a semi-feminist discourse (and we say semi-feminist because she was at the very least honest). Blockbuster Media seems to be motivated more by money than anything else.

But then again, this problem would not exist in the first place if we weren’t dealing with an organism that is indeed ideologically driven—namely the EU. In part three, we will continue to expose the smelly corruption brushwood in which the Romanian feminist lobby is immersed and we will continue to discuss the way the taxpayers’ money is being spent in the name of helping women and only women, under the guidance of the European Union and, at the end of the day, to the detriment of everyone.


note 1: SRL = Societate cu Răspundere Limitată: The Romanian legal equivalent of a Limited Liability Company

note 2: POSDRU = Programul Operațional Sectorial – Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane (The Sectoral Operational Programme – Human Resources Development)


2 – Registrul Național al ONG – Indexul persoanelor juridice fără scop patrimonial – asociatii, partea a II-a, pag. 190 (accesat la 2 septembrie 2014)


4Şanse-Egale/502378476535554 – Pagina de Facebook a JSE (accesat la 2 septembrie 2014)

5 ibidem 2

6 – Dan Badea – Femina – un proiect de 5 milioane de euro pentru oamenii lui Vîntu, Curentul, publicat la 15 martie 2012 (accesat la 2 septembrie 2014)

7 ibidem

8 Alina Mihai, Alexandru Necula – Stancu. Ziua judecății, Obiectiv Vocea Brăilei, publicat la 17 iunie 2014 (accesat la 2 septembrie 2014)


10 – Documentație pentru ofertanți pentru achiziția de servicii de consultanță sanitară și siguranță (Securitatea Muncii) cod CPV: 71317210-8 (accesat la 2 septembrie 2014)


12 ibidem

13 – Egalitatea de șanse între bărbați și femei – Interviu RFI (în limba română)

14 – Rezultate Examen de admitere iulie 2013, specializarea Jurnalism (accesat la 1 septembrie 2014)

15 – Lista candidaților admiși la specializarea Jurnalism – iulie 2014

16 – pag. 17 – Lista candidaţilor – români admişi, cu finanţare de la buget – ordonaţi după media generală, descrescător – iulie 2014

17 – pag. 17 – Lista candidaţilor – români admişi, cu taxă – ordonaţi după media generală, descrescător

18 – Oana Osman – Jurnaliștii revistei Capital te provoacă: “Gândește drept!”, publicat la 29 August 2014 (accesat la 31 august 2014)

19 – Carmen Maria Andronache – 29 August. Un documentar despre Maria Tănase, produs de Radio România, nominalizat la Prix Europa, publicat la 29 August 2014 (accesat la 31 august 2014)

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