Public protests planned against Binev heading Parliament’s committee on culture and media

Public protests are being organised by Bulgarians on Facebook against the appointment of controversial nationalist Patriotic Front MP Slavi Binev to head the new National Assembly’s committee on culture and the media.

The appointment of Binev already has been the subject of public statements of complaint by public broadcasters Bulgarian National Television and Bulgarian National Radio, recalling Binev’s alleged conduct at a public protest outside BNT headquarters, and has drawn adverse comment from Bulgaria’s theatre and cultural world.

BNR reported Sofia University Professor Alexander Dimchev as saying on December 1 that the appointment of Binev – a sports graduate who became the owner of a pop-folk nightclub and established interests in security and construction companies and who has a track record with nationalist political formations – as being possible because in Bulgaria, culture was pushed into a corner.

In an interview on BNT, director Yavor Gurdev said that culture was considered not a systemic part of life in Bulgaria but some sort of strange appendage that could be “bonsaied” if necessary.

Film director Viktor Bozhinov, speaking on the same programme, said that he believed that culture was seen as something unnecessary, and in recent years, the main debate about culture had been to do with money, which he saw as a mistake.

People in this sector had been seen as some people peeking around the corner asking for money, Bozhinov said.

Radan Kanev, co-leader of the centre-right Reformist Bloc parliamentary group, a partner in the coalition cabinet, said that the issue of the appointment of Binev had been a very difficult compromise.

Kanev said that previously the Reformist Bloc had known only that the culture and media committee would be offered to the Patriotic Front (currently a supporter of the government) but the bloc had not known to whom the chairpersonship of the committee would be given.

He also recalled Binev’s confrontation with public broadcaster BNT when he complained about lack of coverage of his activities. Before he was an MP, Binev was an MEP for Volen Siderov’s far-right ultra-nationalists Ataka.

PF co-leader Valeri Simeonov told Nova Televizia that Binev would be a useful head of the parliamentary committee because he had organisational skills.

Simeonov, who in recent days has been repeating threats that the PF would withdraw its support from the government in which Boiko Borissov’s GERB is the majority partner, said that Binev was given the committee chairpersonship on the personal proposal of GERB deputy leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

Reports said that Binev was due to appear in a live television interview on BNT on December 1 in the evening and to hold a news conference on December 2.



The Sofia Globe staff

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