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Romanian Senate Passes Access Bill

April 9, 1998

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ The Senate has passed a bill allowing citizens to check whether journalists and elected officials ever worked for Romania’s feared communist secret police, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

To become law, the measure approved late Wednesday must be passed by the lower Chamber of Deputies, which may make amendments to the law.

Romanians will be able to access the Securitate files of journalists, media executives or owners of media companies, said Senate spokeswoman Doina Diaconu.

``We have to know who are the people who write for public opinion,″ Sen. Gyorgy Frunda told Pro-TV, a private television station.

The legislation also opens the files of any person holding public office _ from the president down to local authorities.

However, the Securitate’s successor, the Romanian Intelligence Service, which inherited the files after the 1989 anti-communist revolt, claimed that almost all the informers’ files were destroyed before the 1989 uprising.

In a rare case, Ioan Ghise, the mayor of Brasov, 90 miles north of Bucharest, acknowledged that he was a Securitate informer, newspapers reported Thursday.

Ghise, forced to go public by a party colleague, said he followed foreigners working in Brasov in the early 1980s. ``I just did my patriotic duty as a citizen,″ the daily Libertatea quoted him as saying.

Romanians have been obsessed by the memory of the Securitate since the fall of communism. One in four people was said to have collaborated with the secret police.

Only been a handful of people have publicly admitted working for the Securitate, which spread a web of terror.

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