The Association of European Journalists (AEJ), which earlier in September wrote an open letter to European Commissioner Neelie Kroes about the “corporate and political control” exercised over the major media groups in Bulgaria and the persistent failure of the authorities to investigate violent attacks against journalists, has called on the EC to monitor the media environment in Bulgaria.
The call was made on September 20 2012 when Kroes, Vice President of the EC responsible for the digital media, met a group of journalists during a visit to the Bulgarian capital city Sofia.
According to a report by Bulgarian news agency BTA, the chairperson of the AEJ in Bulgaria, Kristina Hristova, made the request at the meeting.
Kroes said that she raised the issue of media transparency with Prime Minister Boiko Borissov who, she said, had agreed that there was not enough transparency concerning both ownership and financing of media inBulgaria.
Kroes invited the journalists to come up with concrete ideas on how to increase transparency. Hristova suggested that the EC send a mission to study the media environment in Bulgaria.
Kroes said that there were many factors that contribute to a positive dynamic between media and democracy.
It is not always about the law, she said. A country could have a good law, Kroes said, but if it was abused or not enforced, or there was a culture that encourages forms of self-censorship, or there was a lack of transparency about how the sector operates, then the law alone cannot solve that problem.
Kroes said that she had asked Borissov if he would support an effort to increase transparency – “he told me I have his full support,” she said, calling on journalists to come up with concrete ideas on how to increase transparency.
She said that as media diversify – and the digital world helps to create a more diverse media – they becomes more trusted and valued.
“Make sure to use the full potential of digital media to spread your reports and opinions,” Kroes said.
(Photo: Brano Hudak/sxc.hu)