Bulgarian media

BULGARIA, IN THE MEANTIME

Predictably, the coronavirus emergency has made all other events in what remains the EU's poorest and least free state look like insubstantial tidbits. With very few exceptions all media have focused exclusively on the alarmist press conferences of Gen Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, the military doctor who heads the emergency staff, and on the lifts Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has given to his ministers in his private jeep to inspect unfinished stretches of road.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

Traffic rules are the same for both millionaires and honest citizens. 

Ivaylo Ivanov, General Secretary of the Interior Ministry

Last week in Sofia we had a London type of fog while in summertime we get a Los Angeles type of smog.

Georgi Rachev, climatologist

 

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WHO ARE THE MAIN PLAYERS IN BULGARIAN MEDIA?

Under Boyko Borisov, Bulgaria, ostensibly, has all the trappings of a democracy. Elections, generally pronounced by international observers to be free and fair, are being held once in a while. Freedom-of-speech is a constitutionally guaranteed right. Arbitrary arrests of dissenters are supposedly a thing of the Communist past. Everyone, in theory, has access to justice. There are televised debates, policy platforms, endorsements.

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THE CASE OF VIKTORIA MARINOVA

The brutal rape and murder of an young, attractive woman has exposed this country's deep problems with government, public trust in institutions, media freedoms, racism and gender issues, and the blurred line between journalism and political activism.

What happened?

On a Sunday, while the Facebook quarrels on the quality of Central Sofia's renovation works were losing momentum, a piece of disturbing news spread over. A young woman was raped and murdered in the northern city of Ruse, in broad daylight.

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RETURN OF RADIO FREE EUROPE

About 10 years after it gained membership of the EU and nine since Boyko Borisov's GERB came to power this country has made huge progress in spending EU money. However, it has plummeted in many measurable aspects of life: from life expectancy to emigration, from the fight against corruption to the fight against organised crime, and from median incomes to media freedoms. The latter has prompted the US Congress to resume funding for a news outlet to disseminate objective, balanced and non-partisan news and analysis, and facilitate unbiased debate.

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GEORGI LOZANOV

Arguably Bulgaria's most prominent intellectual, Georgi Lozanov – a philosopher, professor of mass communications in several universities and the current chief of the Electronic Media Council – has always been an outspoken critic of the system, any system. Some compare him to Noam Chomsky – but with a strong dash of the Wildean penchant for bons mots – no matter whether he is talking about the legacy of Communism, organised crime, the games played in the Bulgarian media or the best restaurants in Sofia. But Georgi Lozanov is a lot more than the Chomsky-Wilde cliché.

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BULGARIA'S MEDIACRACY

Ever wondered who Bulgaria's biggest advertiser in the media is? No, it's not companies with traditionally hefty publicity budgets such as British Airways, Rolex watches, Volkswagen cars or LUKoil. It is... the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture.

Data published by Kapital weekly reveals that in 2009 and 2010 the ministry spent on advertising respectively 930,000 and 750,000 leva excluding VAT. In 2011 the figure rose to 1.8 million leva. In 2012 the Agriculture Ministry plans to spend 4 million leva of EU funds on advertising in the local media.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

It is a shame that famous Bulgarian poets and actors depart in destitution and there is no one to see them off with dignity.

Dimitar Lambovski, the owner of the first private cemetery, on why he will donate 10 grave spots for deceased intellectuals

The chief of the power engineering mafia, I won't say his name - he spent 17 million euros to buy a Greek island, and it is an ugly island... That I cannot understand.

Self-proclaimed political analyst Stefan Gamizov

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BRING BACK THE BEEB TO BULGARIA

Over 2,000 people*, both expats and Bulgarians, have joined the Facebook campaign to restart the BBC World Service broadcasts on FM in the Sofia area. Sofia is among the few European capital cities apart from Moscow where the BBC World Service is not available on FM.

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BRING BACK THE BEEB TO SOFIA!

Being what it is at the moment, Bulgaria is one of the few European countries outside Russia where there are no BBC World Service FM broadcasts. The reasons are many and complex but they boil down to the Bulgarian Electronic Media Council, the watchdog supposed to supervise how Bulgarian radio and TV stations adhere to their licences, rejecting the Beeb's permission to broadcast on FM in the Sofia area. The arguments may have been different, but the fact is that Bulgaria followed Russia in banning the World Service from its airwaves.

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