Bulgaria: “crash of the freedom of the media”

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After the murder of journalist Viktoria Marinowa in Bulgaria Daniel Kaddik calls from the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung, to take Bulgaria in liability. The EU should take a closer look on where their money is going.

DW: Mr Kaddik, one can assume that the murder of Victoria Marinowa in connection with your profession, or is it more of a criminal case? How do you see that?

Daniel Kaddik: We can’t say exactly what it is. The police said that Victoria Marinowa raped and brutally mauled. It is interesting to note, however, that the entire civil society of Bulgaria is immediately jumped on this case and that in Bulgaria no one has any doubt that it could possibly be a politically motivated act. Even if it should turn out that it is actually a crime of passion or a different type of murder, we must say that it is so bad and the freedom of the media in Bulgaria, that everyone assumes immediately that it is a political fact.

Freedom of the media: “Bulgaria, the conclusion of the light is in the EU”

You’ve been watching for a long time, the Situation of the media in Bulgaria. Why is there so bad to the media?

In fact, Bulgaria is the space 111 of the freedom of the media. Thus, Bulgaria is not only in the EU but in the whole Balkans. There are several reasons. On the one hand, we have, on paper, a free media, but we have a highly centralized ownership structure. A few owners of the media houses under their control. We have a non-functioning display market. A large part of the financing runs with the help of EU funds, which are given only by the Council of Ministers. So we have a strong self-censorship within the media. And there are many cases of extreme corruption, whereby there is also a lot of threats to journalists, particularly investigative journalists.

Journalist Viktoria Marinowa – her body was found on Saturday in a Park in the city of Ruse

The journalist Viktoria Marinowa reported in their TV show about an affair, which has been researched by an investigative Website. The Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation supports this web site comes in part. Is that correct?

We work in fact with investigative journalists of page Bivol. We have here in Bulgaria, a black book, in which we uncover cases of waste of taxes, and because we collaborate with these journalists. One of them, Dimitar Stoyanov, has been arrested a few weeks ago for a Research, together with Romanian colleagues, where you have determined in a case of waste of EU funds and corruption in connection with EU funds.

“Bulgaria in liability to take”

What developments do you expect for the media in Bulgaria in the future? What help could they expect Bulgarian journalist and journalists and the free media, to the extent that it exists at all in Bulgaria, from the outside, and get?

In fact, I don’t expect much in the development of the freedom of the media is concerned. The International Press Institute has written a few days ago a fire letter to the Prime Minister, Boiko Borisov, in which it calls for the protection of journalists and media freedom in the country. Since the accession of Bulgaria to the EU, we can see a permanent crash of the freedom of the media. I see sorry, there are no positive developments. It is now so bad that Radio Free Europe returns to Bulgaria.

Daniel Kaddik is the head of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation in Sofia

What could be done from the European side, is to look on the one side, to where the EU funds go to the media to promote, and where appropriate PR. On the other hand, you need a clear commitment of the European member States to the freedom of the media. This also means to take Bulgaria if appropriate in the liability.

And the third and perhaps the most important point is to create a European Public sphere. The case has now made it into the European and international media, but it is a straw fire, which is probably next week, and then no one will be interested in Bulgaria. Bulgaria as a member state of the EU and is still a member of the Trojka and must continue to be the focus of the European Public, otherwise nothing happens in the area of the freedom of the media, or in the area of the fight against corruption.

Daniel Kaddik is a media expert for the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung and head of the office of the Foundation in Sofia.

The conversation Alexander Andreev.