Protest Letter Alerts Europe to Attacks on Free Speech in Bulgaria

Society | December 13, 2007, Thursday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 4
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Bulgarian journalists, working in EU member states, have condemned the abuse of their colleagues in Bulgaria in a protest letter sent to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the heads of state of countries across the bloc.

"Bulgaria is the only European Union member state, where mercenaries hired by underworld bosses and the authorities are persecuting journalists," the letter reads.

It comes shortly after unidentified assaulters beat up a journalist from Monitor daily Assen Yordanov in the Black Sea town of Burgas.

The attack has been linked to Yordanov's investigations into illegal deals with attractive property along the Black Sea coast and the vested interests of the ruling Socialist party and its ethnic Turkish junior coalition partner in Strandzha park. It came just days after the journalist revealed his findings in TV interviews.

The protest letter tracks back previous attacks on free speech in Bulgaria, including the assault against Emil Ivanov, a photo reporter with the Express newspaper in Sofia, who was hit on the head with truncheons as he tried to take pictures of Mladen Mihalev, one of the most prominent underworld figures in Bulgaria. The incident occured just four days before Bulgaria's first elections for MEPs.

A powerful bomb explosion in front of the apartment of the investigative journalist from private Nova TV channel Vassil Ivanov left his house completely demolished on April 5, 2006.

The protest letter insists that Europe's institutions and leaders openly condemn the passivity of the Bulgarian authorities and urges that the criminals are brought to justice.
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» To the forumComments (4)
#4
Kolega - 18 Dec 2007 // 21:26:17

Robin:
"The thing is Kolega, that you always take the opposite, equally stupid approach that because it's happening elsewhere, it's OK for it to happen in BG."

Not so.
I NEVER said that it's OK to intimidate reporters, abuse children, bribe politicians and so on.

The very opening of the article: "Bulgaria is the only European Union member state, where"... ANYTHING has or will happen, is my issue.
May be not in Germany, not today, but there is no base to make such a swiping statement for the rest of the EU.
There is a violent low intensity separatist war going on in one of the core EU members as we speak - Spain with its Bask movement, where journalists and judges are target even now, to give one example... Italy was at much more advanced EU integration level, when things like that were still making the headlines.

We SHOULD and can improve the business and intellectual freedom climate in Bulgaria, without resulting to sensational dishonesty like this, and complete loss of perspective.
That is typically Bulgarian if anything - the propensity to over-dramatize the negatives about BG, made worse with free press.

It can read that BG needs urgent help in ensuring freedom of this and that, as we are going through the difficult, painful, if you like, but familiar process of integrating in the EU and liberalizing our society.
That would be accurate and just as helpful.

#3
Vesko - 15 Dec 2007 // 07:13:26

Are you an appologist for criminals intimidating journalists?

If you didn't get paid for it, you are not protecting your interests.

#2
Robin - 14 Dec 2007 // 07:52:24

The thing is Kolega, that you always take the opposite, equally stupid approach that because it's happening elsewhere, it's OK for it to happen in BG. I've not heard of journalists getting beaten up in the UK or Germany. It might have been happening in Italy in 80s but I don't think so anymore.

There letter is not melodramatic. I have not heard of any journalists being killed in other EU states that I am connected to. I can't say for Greece and Italy, but nor can you since you don't live there. BG does have an issue with free speech, like it has issues with many other things. It needs to sort this out and the more people who make a fuss the better. It isn't going to get better by itself.

#1
Kolega - 13 Dec 2007 // 21:53:56

"Bulgaria is the only European Union member state, where mercenaries hired by underworld bosses and the authorities are persecuting journalists," the letter reads"

This is what excrement like furio plays on:
Many Bulgarians, unused to openness and competing interests, with relatively little knowledge of the outside world, are prone to melodramatic qualification of negative developments in Bulgaria, attributing some uniqueness or exclusiveness to them, as if possible only in Bulgaria.

How many journalists and even judges have been killed in Italy and Spain since they've become EU members?
Every EU country has long history of organize crime's intimidation attempts against investigative reporting.

To proclaim that "Bulgaria is the only EU member state" where ANYTHING happens, is comparable to "our close friends are in Bulgaria as we speak - my mother said">>>

Melodramatic agenda driven journalistic diarrhea...

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