OFFICIALS AND BUSINESSMEN CLAIM MILLIONS FROM JOURNALISTS
Ninety seven punitive and civil lawsuits have been initiated against journalists since March 2000, when some amendments to the Penal Code were passed concerning journalistic activities. The information has been provided by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and the European Practical Access to Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe project. One journalist has been convicted in all 23 trials ended so far. Seventy four cases are still waiting for a final decision. Civil claims total more than BGL1MN. The two non-government organisations have checked information about 139 newspapers and magazines, 63 television and 98 radio stations.The claim of former state administration minister Mario Tagarinski against the Bourgas journalist Katya Kassabova, provoked by her articleq titled Council of Ministers' Rest Home at Sunny Beach Sacked by Tagarinski is one of the most curious cases. The ex-minister has claimed BGL1,850 in compensation from the author and the first instance court judged in his favour. However, Ms. Kassabova appealed against the decision. She was also required to pay BGL5,000 by the manager of the Sunny Beach-based rest home Konstantin Kostov, but the court rejected his claim. A businessman, who is a partner in a water-jets company, filed a claim against Ms. Kassabova too.Kevork Kevorkyan, former director of a popular TV programme, is suing a journalist from the Capital weekly because of an article titled Kevorkyan's Factory of TV Illusions.