The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) supports Bulgarian journalists in their protest against political pressure and urges politicians to refrain from interference in journalists’ work, the union said in a statement.
After days of tension between the ruling parties’ politicians and the media, Bulgarian journalists have staged protests to defend their right to work free from political pressure, the EBU noted.
The EBU reminds Bulgarian politicians, that Public Service Media (PSM) in Europe are guarantors for freedom of expression and media pluralism and each attempt to attack their independence is an attack against democracy.
“One of the six core values of Public Service Media, adopted unanimously by our members, is independence. The implementation of this value ensures the distinctiveness of PSM and maintains their credibility to society, ” EBU Director General Noel Curran said.
“It is a responsibility of each EBU member to be objective and impartial. We support BNT (Bulgarian National Television) and BNR (Bulgarian National Radio) in their endeavours to sustain high journalistic standards in their work,” Curran said.
The October 12 statement came as EBU member BNR was hosting the EBU Legal and Public Policy Assembly in Sofia, assembling public service media representatives from all over Europe to exchange best practice and knowledge on media legal matters.
Bulgarian journalists held a protest in Sofia on October 11 following incidents in which a then-MP for Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party and a deputy prime minister made statements in television interviews seen as threatening the interviewer. Following this and other controversies in which he was involved, the MP – Anton Todorov – resigned from Parliament, though he denied threatening the interviewer.
Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov also denied issuing a threat and said that he was taking court action against media that reported that he had.
International media watchdogs rate Bulgaria as having the lowest level of media freedom among the countries of the European Union.