Bulgaria’s proposed new Penal Code ‘will block investigative journalism’

Controversial proposed amendments to Bulgaria’s Penal Code will put an end to anti-corruption investigative journalism, new reports say, in the latest criticism of the Ministry of Justice project.

Earlier, concerns were raised that the draft changes to the code would put severe limits on photography and filming, blocking the way to, for instance, images of politicians taking bribes.

In a January 9 report, daily Sega said that would put swathes of information under wraps for fear of prosecution or even imprisonment. It would muzzle public servants who would have even more reason to refuse to give any information, arguing that to do so could be a basis for prosecution.

Not only state and official secrets would be covered but also any information protected by law, such as personal information data, medical or commercial secrets, among others, the report said.

While the current version of the Penal Code provides for criminal liability only for office-bearers who disclose secrets, the proposed version would widen this, putting even those who put information in the media or online at risk of jail even if they did not know that the information was supposed to be secret.

For the full story, please click here.

(Photo: Jakub Krechowicz/sxc.hu)