Reporters Without Borders, RSF, has again ranked Bulgaria lowest in the European Union in its 2019 media freedom ranking, released on April 21 2020.
Bulgaria ranked 111th out of 180 countries covered in the RSF report.
Among EU member states, next-lowest was Hungary, in 89th place, and Malta, in 81st place.
RSF ranked Norway – not an EU member state – top in media freedom.
Second, third and fourth places were taken by EU member states: Finland, Denmark and Sweden, respectively.
In a note on Bulgaria, entitled “black sheep of the European Union”, RSF said that despite increasing international pressure, media freedom in Bulgaria has not improved in 2019.
“Corruption and collusion between media, politicians and oligarchs is widespread in Bulgaria,” RSF said.
The most notorious embodiment of this aberrant state of affairs is Delyan Peevski, who ostensibly owns two newspapers (Telegraph and Monitor) but also controls a TV channel (Kanal 3), news websites and a large portion of print media distribution, the report said.
“The government continues to allocate EU and public funding to media outlets with a complete lack of transparency, with the effect of encouraging recipients to go easy on the government in their reporting, or to refrain from covering certain problematic stories altogether.”
At the same time judicial harassment of independent media continued to increase, RSF said.
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