Courageous Bulgarian Journalist Subjected to Threats
By Roy Greenslade
Bulgarian newspaper journalist Lidia Pavlova, who reports on organised crime, is being subjected to continual intimidation.
In the latest incident (on 25 May), her car was set on fire. And it was the second time her car has been destroyed.
Pavlova, who works for Struma, a daily based in the south-west Bulgarian city of Blagoevgrad, has received awards for her investigative Journalism and also won an award in 2009 for courage in journalism
A reporter for more than 15 years, she has received a number of threats over the past four years, many of them directed at her son, Ivan, who is now 22.
They began following the opening of trials involving two gangsters, the Galevi brothers, and their accomplices. The brothers, who disappeared after being sentenced to jail for organised crime, racketeering and extortion, are now the subject of an international search warrant.
In November 2008, Ivan was badly beaten. In May 2009, the rear windshield of Pavlova's car was smashed and police found a bullet inside. In January 2010, Ivan was so badly beaten he spent three days in intensive care with severe head injuries.
Weeks later, Pavlova's company car was attacked. And several times that year her windshield was smashed. She has also received a number of verbal threats.
Oliver Vujovic, secretary general of the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), said: "I am very concerned for Pavlova's safety.
"In April 2012, a SEEMO delegation met Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Bulgaria's minister of the interior, and raised concerns regarding Pavlova's safety.
The minister said he believed that another incident with Lidia Pavlova would not happen due to the high-profile nature of the trial against the Galevi brothers. I do hope that Minister Tsvetanov can offer protection to Pavlova and guarantee her safety."
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