Civic freedoms are guaranteed in law, and these rights are generally observed in practice as people are able to form associations and gather peacefully. While most organisations can operate freely, organisations which criticise the government have been the targets of smear campaigns. There are some limitations as the law regulating public gatherings imposes fines on protestors and has been criticised by civil society organisations for being too vague. Free expression is constitutionally protected however political influence and an economic crisis have negatively impacted the independence of the media in Romania.