Democratic Bulgaria: There Is No Democracy without Free Media
World Press Freedom Day is an occasion to look at the state of media freedom in our country. “Democratic Bulgaria” has always insisted that media freedom is a supreme democratic value. "We strongly condemn all actions directed against the few remaining free media and journalists. Threats and attacks on journalists seeking the truth and informing the public are a grave interference in our dignity as citizens,” the union said.
Democrats say undermining media freedom and pluralism in Bulgaria is a threat to the rights of each of us - without free media there is no free and informed choice. "The lack of genuine media freedom becomes especially dangerous in a state of emergency and the refusal of the National Assembly to exercise (even in as a veneer)) its function of controlling the executive power," the formation wrote.
In a state of war with the pandemic, trust in the public media and the quality of information, including the criticism of the public media, are a matter of national and health security, say Democratic Bulgaria.
"The latest Council of Europe report on the subject states that:" In the last few years, the working environment for journalists has been deteriorating in Bulgaria as a result of the polarizing nature of the public debate, the outright hostility of elected politicians and the continuous attacks against independent media through administrative and judicial harassment and through physical threats. Media ownership is nontransparent and is characterized of the media market takeover by oligarchs who use their media power to exercise political influence, to attack and tar their opponents and critics. A major share of the newspaper distribution business in the country is controlled by a united conglomerate owned by a politician. Independent journalists and the media are regularly subject to threats, both personally and online. Audiovisual media independence is undermined by controversial appointments and managerial decisions. Three investigative journalists are forced to quit Nova TV after the channel was acquired by an oligarch, close to the government, "the position reads.
The formation states that the government has been vigorously maintaining and legitimizing a propaganda machine for repression against any free vote.
"We have a media mafia that is fiercely fighting with the opposition and any critical opinion and is applauding the rulers in a servile way," the Democrats are adamant.
“Democratic Bulgaria” once again states that in order to be a democratic country Bulgaria must have:
● true transparency in media ownership - the ultimate owner, not the front men or offshore companies;
● transparent mechanisms and objective criteria for allocating state and municipal funds for advertising and information campaigns;
● constant and effective monitoring of the pressure exerted on journalists and the media in their work;
● guarantees for real independence of public media;
● high professional standards (not only in theory) in the appointments of CEM members;
● breaking down the practical monopoly in press distribution;
● effective implementation of the Law on Access to Public Information by the institutions;
● Media literacy policies implemented in practice;
● Improved access to media content for people with disabilities and special educational needs.