Dugulescu – Pre-funeral misinformation

Dugulescu 460 

Photo: Ionel Drăgan

Baptist pastor Petru Dugulescu, PNTCD deputy of Timis (1992-2000) died Thursday, January 3rd, 2008. In the few days preceding his funeral (January 7th) several things were written about his person and activity. At the same time, there were quite a lot of misinformation, therefore this situation should constitute an (another) alarm signal about the circulation of information in public space.

In „Gandul” (The Thought – a Romanian language newspaper) an article appeared under the title: “Petru Dugulescu, the president of Romanian Baptists, died…”. Apparently the source was… BBC, whom the day before wrote for the English edition: “The head of Romania’s Baptist Church has died”. False! Otniel Bunaciu, the president of the Baptist Union of Romania, is still alive…

Romanian Tribune (Chicago) writes that Petru Dugulescu had “a heart attack Wednesday, January 3th, 2008, 20:20 Romania’s time”. This was, indeed, Romania’s time, but January the 3th was… a Thursday.

On the website of Pasi (Steps) Magazine there is an interview with the “former senator”. Incorrect! Petru Dugulescu was a parliamentary deputy (for two consecutive mandates).

Alfa Omega TV Station (Timisoara) has posted on its website Dugulescu’s supposedly last interview from past December. But somewhere in the middle of the 7 minute recording we can read the date: November 18th 2007!

Of course, the blogosphere has contributed to the dissemination of this kind of “news”. Alexandru Petria writes: “he was exposed in December as a former collaborator with the communist secret police”. Incorrect! This kind of „disclosures” have already been revealed by May of the same year, when the name of Petru Dugulescu was mentioned in a book, along with other names. One can realize this information seems to be taken from the AMOS News Agency, which has specified that “the information appeared on the Romanian blogs in the middle of December”, not that it was disclosed at that time, as it was said on the “blog of a journalist who respects you and respects himself”!

Another blogger (Proclet) writes: “The perverse mechanisms of wordpress transform the young deceased in a kind of ex Man of Day.” With all our goodwill, I am afraid we can’t understand that a man (like Dugulescu) of 62 years may be called this way…

The most frequent matter in these days is about the collaboration of Petru Dugulescu with the secret police: did he collaborate or not? If he did collaborate, how much? etc. AMOS News Agency writes in the announcement about the well-known man from Timisoara that “Dugulescu didn’t deny that collaboration and he said that he was a victim of the system”.

Banateanul (december 31th, 2007), another newspaper that confers Dugulescu the title of “the president of Baptist Community from Romania”, writes in its reference to the documents posted on a blog: “The source ‘Daniel Stefan’ admits that he collaborated, but he said, in the same time, that he was a victim of the system”.

One can sense the difference between “Dugulescu didn’t deny” and “Daniel Stefan admits that he collaborated”. Anyway, we can note, in this en vogue matter, the opinion of a visitor on a blog: “The collaborator file must be studied together with victim file”.

About the informational mistakes (and communication mistakes in the public space), there is a tradition in the case Petru Dugulescu.

In an article from Evenimentul Zilei (Event of the Day), December 8th, 1999 there is this affirmation: “The PNTCD deputy Petre Dugulescu wants to convert his parliament colleagues to Brethren Church – Betel!”. Petru Dugulescu was the pastor, in the period 1986-2002, of Betel Baptist Church from Timisoara.

In another article from Evenimentul Zilei, November 18th, 1999, there are the following: “The Foundation “Romanian Mission for Europe” from Timisoara, of Mihai Aurelian David, having the support of PNTCD deputies Petre Dugulescu (Baptist pastor) and Tanase Tavala, put an improvement to the law that intends to ask penal sanctions for kissing icons, after or during the prayers in churches.”

This matter was clarified by Petru Dugulescu in his last book, issued a few weeks before his untimely death, “Democracy and persecution”. In November 1999 the deputy of Timis was in New York, whith the committee that represented Romania at the 51st UN session and he didn’t have any involvement with the above matter.

“In my case, I said, the newspapers which catch urgently this subject has proved to be “gipsy-playing press”. The press must inform the public opinion, not misinform. Although I wasn’t in the country, they could still ring my office in Timisoara or Confessions & Human Rights Commission and ask if the deputy Petru Dugulescu initiated the project and if it was registered. None of the journalists made this elementary thing in their job, but they were satisfied to have a sensational news instead. […] Only the newspaper Cotidianul printed a denial note regarding that article’.”

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