Bulgarian journalists protest over freedom of speech

Dozens of journalists at the state-run Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) staged a protest on Friday in support of media freedom after a colleague known for her coverage of the country’s graft-prone judicial system was briefly suspended from her job.

The case drew criticism from human rights groups and the Bulgarian branch of the Association of European Journalists, which spoke of a “coup against journalistic professionalism” in a country that has the lowest ranking among the 28 European Union member states for press freedom.

The new head of BNR news, Nikolay Krastev, on Thursday suspended Silvia Velikova, a respected radio anchor and reporter, saying she had violated her contract by urging listeners while on air to join a protest over the appointment of Bulgaria’s next chief prosecutor.

But many journalists and others saw the move as politically motivated. Facing a strong backlash, Krastev then resigned and Velikova was reinstated. Amid the turmoil, BNR took its Horizont news channel off the air for five hours and the communications regulation commission said it would investigate the case.

“I’m outraged,” said Velichka Paunova, 67, one of dozens of ordinary citizens who also joined the journalists’ protest, accusing Bulgaria’s political establishment of trying to muzzle journalists.

“It’s ugly, it’s scandalous. What are they afraid of? People are not stupid and they understand what this is about.”

The issue has crystallized the frustration of many Bulgarians with what they see as a corrupt and opaque political elite and an ineffective judiciary, which have often been criticized by the European Commission.

Bulgaria ranked 111th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index this year – even below countries in the Western Balkans that are not yet EU members.

In October 2017 hundreds of journalists protested in Sofia against threats from Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov against Bulgaria’s biggest broadcasters, whom he accused of waging a “massive smear campaign” against him.

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55 Thoughts to “Bulgarian journalists protest over freedom of speech”

    1. Kareem Saheed Sola

      People are not stupid, they have ears and eyes. They see what is going on and understand everything.

      1. Reginald Elejere

        Why are some people not allowed to say their mind and contribute to the society?

  1. Muhammed Oiza meimunah

    interesting

  2. abiodun akindele Daniel

    It’s Everyone’sright to be able to express his/her self

  3. Oghenetejiri Shifitanure

    thanks for the update

  4. Mattew Emmanuel

    thanks for the update

  5. Amajuoyi Godstime Onyedikachi

    Good

  6. Samuel Obinna

    Thanks for the update

  7. okiemute emmanuel

    They are right

  8. Iyanuoluwa Eniola

    Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov against Bulgaria’s biggest broadcasters

  9. Ogundele Olusegun Emmanuel

    The fourth estate of the realm most not be killed anywhere in the world.

  10. Victor Uyi

    This is absolute public matter it demands attention

  11. Olushola Sanni

    This is absolute public matter it demands attention

  12. Nkiruka Umetali

    that’s how it suppose to be

  13. Akuruka Sunday

    Everyone deserves freedom of speech

  14. Usiakpor Happiness

    curbing bad laws

  15. Adamu Garba

    That is absolute public matter it demands attention

  16. ORAZULUME CHINEMEREM

    What! Is thithis shit still happening

  17. Nancy Christopher

    it’s their right to protest human rights should not be violated

  18. Chidera Obulu

    Freedom of speech very important ooh

  19. Izukanne Chinazo

    Thanks for this update

  20. Okorochukwu Daniel

    Dats a nice movement from Bulgarian journalists

  21. Wahab Majeed

    freedom of speech must prevail

  22. Ikechukwu Joseph Godswill

    Yea thats true dey suppose

  23. Olamilekan Owojaiye

    Interesting

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