February 2006

Exhausted country favours culture through TV screen

     Reading is not a favoured pastime for Romanians, while television and home PC use continue on an upswing, according to a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Culture.
     However nearly one third of Romanians said, if they had more spare time, they would like to spend it resting – evidece this nation is exhausted.
     Eight per cent of Romanians could not name an author from their own country, while 16 per cent of the Romanians have less than 20 books in the house.
     Romanians’ main source of cultural information is the television. Its penetration is almost 96 per cent of the population. One third of Romanians now own a PC. The authors of the survey expect, in the near future, that the majority of cultural information will be transmitted through the Internet.
     The data comes from the Cultural Consumption Barometer 2005 from the Centre for Studies and Research in the Field of Culture (CSCDC) and groups commissioned by the Ministry of Culture. Its aim is to measure how cultural infrastructures answers people’s needs.
     “The main gap between Romania and the other European countries is cultural and civilisational,” said Adrian Iorgulescu, Culture Minister and president of the Composers and Musicians Union.
     According to the survey, only 25 per cent of Romanians go to the cinema, compared to 61 per cent in the United Kingdom, according to UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS). One in ten Romanians has gone to the Opera, a figure that caused Iorgulescu some shock.
     But this is higher than the UK, where only seven per cent have been to the opera and ballet, according to the ONS.
     The Government will invest 250 million Euro in 2006 and 2007 in opening new cultural institutions and modernizing the existing infrastructure, according to Iorgulescu. However the main problems are in the countryside.
     “From the cultural development point of view, generally speaking, the rural areas are still in the 19th century,” added Iorgulescu.

Anca Pol