Bulgaria’s Council for Electronic Media, the statutory body charged with overseeing the country’s electronic media, has criticised the broadcast media’s coverage of the incident on January 19 2013 in which an assailant attacked the Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Ahmed Dogan with a gas pistol.
The incident, in which the assailant confronted Dogan with the gas pistol before being forced to the ground and having the boot put in by a number of men – reportedly, including members of Parliament for Dogan’s party – was broadcast live on some television channels because of the expectation that the long-time MRF leader was to announce his resignation.
Video footage of the event was repeated numerous times on Bulgarian television and links to the video were posted on a large number of international and local websites. As of January 22, one of the most popular clips of the event on YouTube had more than 1.8 million views.
The Council for Electronic Media, headed by “media expert” Georgi Lozanov, pronounced itself on the incident and broadcast coverage thereof on January 22.
It said that scenes unsuitable for children and others of a sensitive disposition should be preceded by a warning. Only public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television had adhered to this, the council said.
The council said that it had discussed the coverage at a meeting on January 22, following numerous complaints from citizens.
A statement by the council said that “overexposure” of the event had the potential to shift analysis of the causes and consequences of the event towards sensationalism.