The Central Election Commission has ordered a fine to be imposed on television station bTV over a satirical show which depicted United Patriots co-leader and MP candidate Volen Siderov in a “competition” of nude photographs.
In the “Marmalade” show’s ranking, Ataka leader Siderov was placed second, behind Bulgaria’s top chalga star, Azis.
The photo of Siderov dates from the 1990s.
The Central Election Commission issued its decision on the basis of a clause in the Electoral Code which prohibits, among other things, “materials which violate the decency, honour and reputation of the candidates”.
The commission has asked the Interior Ministry to track down the editor responsible for consenting to broadcasting the material.
The maximum fine provided for by statute is 5000 leva (about 2557 euro). The procedure is that the commission refers the matter to the Sofia Regional Governor, who decides on the fine.
The programme was broadcast on the afternoon of March 11. The Council for Electronic Media, the statutory regulator of broadcast media in Bulgaria and which has a role in the elections through media monitoring, reported it to the Central Election Commission on March 13.
Apart from the fine, the Central Election Commission also ordered bTV to remove the material from its website.
Commission spokesperson Tsvetozar Tomov told local media that a meeting of the CEC had discussed other complaints, but it was only on this one that a majority decision was reached.