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Romanian Prime Minister Accused of Plagiarism 64

Posted by timothy
from the let's-all-play-gerism! dept.
ananyo writes "In a revelation that could bring down the country's government, Romania's Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, stands accused of copying large sections of his 2003 PhD thesis in law from previous publications, without proper reference. Documents compiled by an anonymous whistle-blower indicate more than half of Ponta's 432-page, Romanian-language thesis on the functioning of the International Criminal Court consists of duplicated text. Last month, the country's education and research minister, computer scientist Ioan Mang, resigned following accusations of plagiarism in at least eight papers." Looks like it's contagious.
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Romanian Prime Minister Accused of Plagiarism

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  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:42PM (#40371789) Homepage Journal

    But it seems odd to me that an entire government should fall due to one cretin's past misconduct. Europeans (and parliamentary governments) have some strange habits.

    • Re:Governments fall (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Infiniti2000 (1720222) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:48PM (#40371875)
      It's about corruption. When the government is in jeopardy because it has a difficult time dealing with corruption, and then something like this hits the very top of the government, there's a major problem with the whole government. It's not just one cretin.
      • by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:55PM (#40372001)
        Ponta is innocent of such allegations. He paid someone to write his thesis so he is the victim here. These infidel hackers who stole from the publications should suffer. People in a position of power should always have the right to pretend to do something without fear of recrimination for work that was totally paid in full years ago! Go find those crooks, damnit!
        • by ergean (582285)

          No... no... no... Let me tell you how it happens - in Romania: you take some slaves (aka students) and put them to study a small set of the problem (like a chapter of your thesis) and then you take the best works and you make them your own. The students should be punished!!!

          So I agree with alphatel, but nobody got paid. :)

        • by AcademIQ (2666609)
          I quote, rephrasing someone dear, for Romanian people to know: " ..and then we'll have a new shameless dictator among us.. who likes to play with words. It was his duty to search for the "crooks", not for others to be payed to do this now, he isn't a kid anymore to blaim it on others...or is he? anyway he is not a real man to admit his own flaws or mistakes or whatever he calls what he approved for his PhD thesis. He doesn't have the guts to give up on what doesn't belong to him - the scientific title. H
      • by Nyder (754090)

        It's about corruption. When the government is in jeopardy because it has a difficult time dealing with corruption, and then something like this hits the very top of the government, there's a major problem with the whole government. It's not just one cretin.

        How the fuck does plagiarism equate to being corrupt?

        So you are saying, because someone was too lazy to paraphrase, and copy word for word, that they are corrupt and easily bought?

        Interesting, but not true.

        • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (eilrigyag)> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @02:17PM (#40373155) Homepage

          Actually, yes, using the work of others and claiming it is done by you, and then using that as a stepping-stone to advance your powers is a form of corruption. It does not mean that the person is easily bought, but it does show that the person is dishonest and not a character fit for being a prime minister.

        • by nospam007 (722110) * on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @03:22PM (#40374323)

          "How the fuck does plagiarism equate to being corrupt?"

          He acted dishonestly in return for a university degree, which is a personal gain.

          corrupt/krpt/
          Adjective:
          Having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.
          Verb:
          Cause to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.
          Synonyms:
          adjective. rotten - depraved - venal - bad - putrid
          verb. spoil - pervert - deprave - vitiate - rot - debauch

      • by baegucb (18706)

        Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin never has this problem. Oh wait...

    • by meloneg (101248)

      The phrase might make more sense if you read it as his "administration might fall". That's closer terminology from an American perspective.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:53PM (#40371975) Journal
      A 'government' is a parliamentary group(sometimes a party, most typically a coalition) large enough to pass whatever the procedural cutoff is for being allowed to put your prime minister in place. It doesn't, in this context, refer to the broader framework in which this occurs.

      If the US actually had relevant 3rd parties, it'd be the rough equivalent of the Senate Majority Leader facing a scandal, and then having the alliance between the GOP and the Libertarians or the Democrats and the Greens that gave him the majority collapse, leading to a new Senate Majority Leader.

      Not a nothing event; but hardly catastrophic.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      The government and the party behind them chose that one cretin as their leader, making them also responsible. That doesn't necessarily mean that the government will fall, but it certainly isn't good publicity.

  • Politicians steal phrases from other politicians all the time without giving credit.

    "I will not raise taxes" is one of the most-copied political statements of all time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oddly enough, Germany's minister for science and education, Annette Schavan, also faces allegations that substantial parts of her PhD thesis have been copied without proper attribution. As many as 56 out of 325 pages of her thesis were found to contain instances of plagiarism. Note that this Schavan is the same minister who called an earlier instance of plagiarism by the former German defense minister to be 'embarrassing'.

  • by TheSpoom (715771) <{ten.00mrebu} {ta} {todhsals}> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:53PM (#40371969) Homepage Journal

    If you lie, cheat, and steal, you'll get into the top echelons of power. Just make sure you don't get caught... or at least, make sure that when you do get caught, you have the power to "take care" of whoever caught you.

    • If you lie, cheat, and steal, you'll get into the top echelons of power.

      ++

      Next step, full disclosure of high school and college papers. I bet we would fine that most politicians were/are plagerizers.

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      While we're on the subject, it's kind of a life goal of mine to change this situation in the long run. The most well-known and potentially most powerful system with the most corruption seems to be the US federal government. As a web developer who would also like to bootstrap a startup one day, anyone have some ideas as to how I can effect some change to lower corruption in the federal government, legally? I have a few ideas but I'd be interested to hear others.

  • Who made me the genius I am today?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlgRDdWUs7g [youtube.com]

    Tom Lehrer, of course.

  • Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by x0d (2506794) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @01:00PM (#40372085)
    Seriously, who does? Why is this on Slashdot? It's not like Romania is relevant in world politics..
    • It's relevant because it demonstrates how new technology can be used to expose misdeeds from the past.
      • by x0d (2506794)
        Nothing new here (see Guttenberg's and Schavan's case in Germany or Grasser in Austria).
      • What new technology? The article doesn't go into any details, so for all we know it was a student in a library reading a paper book who spotted it.
    • because we should fight corruption where ever we find it. we live in a small world. shit goes comes around and goes around. we should make it the best world we can, and how that others will do the same for us.

  • An old pal (Score:4, Informative)

    by reub2000 (705806) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @01:03PM (#40372141)

    How could you forget Pal Schmitt [wikipedia.org]? Getting elected is all about lying to the electorate. Who would have thunk they'd have any problems lying when in school?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They totally plagiarized the country name. They just took Rome and added -ania to it.

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @01:42PM (#40372621) Homepage Journal

    When in Romania, copy what the Romanians do

  • Honestly, plagiarism is everywhere, even in mainstream academic press in the US. I've caught several papers that were heavily plagiarized that were submitted for peer review just using string searches on Google. (And that's not counting the SciGen stuff that still shows up from time to time.)
  • Ponta, you've been "slashdotted"!
  • he didn't actually use his law degree for anything law related, he became a politician! the ability to plagiarize and not get caught until you're already in power is a highly desirable skill among politicians. he's actually displayed extraordinary competence in his field.
  • Confirmed American plagiarists U.S. Vice President Joe Biden [google.com] and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin [google.com] are still enjoying successful careers. So it seems that at least in the U.S. plagiarism is somewhat tolerated.

    • by slew (2918)

      Confirmed American plagiarists U.S. Vice President Joe Biden [google.com] and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin [google.com] are still enjoying successful careers. So it seems that at least in the U.S. plagiarism is somewhat tolerated.

      Why stop at Biden, Obama [cbsnews.com] seems to have his hand in it occasionally as well... How does that saying go again: great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ... My guess is that most politicians fall into the later camp...

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