News World Bulgarian journalists protest over freedom of speech

Bulgarian journalists protest over freedom of speech

Dozens of journalists at the state-run Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) staged a protest on Friday in support of media freedom after a colleague known for her coverage of the country’s graft-prone judicial system was briefly suspended from her job.

The case drew criticism from human rights groups and the Bulgarian branch of the Association of European Journalists, which spoke of a “coup against journalistic professionalism” in a country that has the lowest ranking among the 28 European Union member states for press freedom.

The new head of BNR news, Nikolay Krastev, on Thursday suspended Silvia Velikova, a respected radio anchor and reporter, saying she had violated her contract by urging listeners while on air to join a protest over the appointment of Bulgaria’s next chief prosecutor.

But many journalists and others saw the move as politically motivated. Facing a strong backlash, Krastev then resigned and Velikova was reinstated. Amid the turmoil, BNR took its Horizont news channel off the air for five hours and the communications regulation commission said it would investigate the case.

“I’m outraged,” said Velichka Paunova, 67, one of dozens of ordinary citizens who also joined the journalists’ protest, accusing Bulgaria’s political establishment of trying to muzzle journalists.

“It’s ugly, it’s scandalous. What are they afraid of? People are not stupid and they understand what this is about.”

The issue has crystallised the frustration of many Bulgarians with what they see as a corrupt and opaque political elite and an ineffective judiciary, which have often been criticised by the European Commission.

Bulgaria ranked 111th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index this year – even below countries in the Western Balkans that are not yet EU members.

In October 2017 hundreds of journalists protested in Sofia against threats from Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov against Bulgaria’s biggest broadcasters, whom he accused of waging a “massive smear campaign” against him.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

WHO reports record daily increase in global coronavirus cases

The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours. The biggest...

Seven new Covid-19 cases on Sunday

  Seven people have tested positive for coronavirus after 1176 tests, the Health Ministry said on Sunday. Five of the new cases were detected from 301...

Nicosia: Biker in critical condition after collision

  A 19 year old biker is in critical condition in hospital after his bike was involved in a collision with a car on Nicosia's...

Yellow alert for third day in a row

  The heat wave is set to continue tomorrow, with the Met Office issuing yet another extreme high temperature warning -- the third in a...

Any prospects for resumption of Cyprus talks would require termination of Turkish provocations

    Any prospects for the resumption of UN-led talks for a settlement to the Cyprus problem would require the termination of the Turkish provocative violations...

Taste

Kolokasi (Taro Root)

Ingredients: (Serves 4) 1 kg kolokasi (taro) root ½ kg pork (lean belly pork or shoulder) cut into large cubes 6 tbsp olive oil 1 head of fresh celery,...

Moungra

Moungra is a traditional Cypriot mezze which consists in cauliflower pickled in fermented bread dough and typically served as an appetizer or meze. It...

Cheesy Eggplant Rolls

Ingredients 4 Eggplants 2 tbsp olive oil 1 chopped onion, 2 grated carrots 1 garlic clove (sliced) ¾ of the cup finely chopped canned tomato, ½ ts sugar 1 ts oregano 2 tbsp...

Black eyed peas with chard (Louvia me laxana)

Ingredients: 2 cups black eyed peas small lemon (juice) + 1 tsp lemon zest 1 bunch Cypriot chards olive oil & lemon for serving salt & pepper Method: Step 1 Put the...