Part of the EU funds being paid for projects in Bulgaria are disseminated only to government-friendly media. This has to stop, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom said.
“The Bulgarian government should disseminate funds on an equal basis to all of the media, also to the ones who are critical of the government. At the same time we ask the EU to actively monitor how EU taxpayers’ money is spent in Bulgaria,” the Leipzig-based centre said.
The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom hosted on January 25 a discussion on the state of media freedom in Bulgaria, which holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first six months of 2018.
“Bulgaria wants to prepare the ground for Western Balkan countries to join the European Union. This is an honorable task implying that Bulgaria is a role model for practice, an orientation for other countries to follow. This certainly also applies to the field of media freedom and media policy,” the centre said.
It said that it wanted to make three recommendations.
The media market in Bulgaria may be characterised as being almost a monopoly. “We urge the government to promote pluralism and diversity.”
The second recommendation was on the equal distribution of EU funds among media, including those critical of the government.
Independent journalists in Bulgaria are under threat, the centre said.
“We ask the government to take the safety of independent journalists very seriously. Proper legislation should be implemented and prompt and effective investigations should follow crimes against journalists,” the centre said.
(Photo: Shamseer Sureash Kumar/freeimages.com)