The expulsion from Russia of the only Bulgarian media correspondent is a purely political act and is detrimental to the freedom of access to information, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) said after its correspondent Angel Grigorov was ordered out of the country.
Grigorov was expelled from Russia in a tit-for-tat move by the Kremlin after, on November 1, Bulgaria expelled Alexander Gatsak, a correspondent for Russian government-owned Rossiyskaya Gazeta, as a threat to national security.
In an official response to Grigorov’s expulsion, BNR said that in all his work as a correspondent in Moscow for more than six years, Grigorov had strictly observed international professional and ethical journalistic standards.
“BNR is disappointed by the attempt to use the accreditation of our correspondent in Moscow as a tool for pressure and a bargaining chip on the part of the Russian side,” the public broadcaster said.
Russia’s foreign ministry said on November 3 that Gatsak had been told to hand over his accreditation documents as a “reciprocal measure” in response to the “persecution” of Gatsak by Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security.
“Guided by the principles of media freedom and pragmatic co-operation, the Russian side will be ready to consider the possibility of resuming the work of the BNR correspondent in Moscow if the Bulgarian government takes a positive decision to accredit the journalist of Rossiyskaya Gazeta in Sofia,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.
BNR said on November 3 that Grigorov was not notified of the decision. On November 1, he was called to the foreign ministry in Moscow, hours after reports that Gatsak had left Bulgaria.
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