Bulgaria Media Profile

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Bulgaria Government and Media


Government

Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Head of the state: The current President of the Republic of Bulgaria is Mr. Rumen Radev
Leader: Prime Minister Boyko Borissov
Political Party: GERB Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria
Political Position: Center-Right


Media

World Press Freedom Rank: Bulgaria 111/180

In 2020 Reporters Without Borders ranked Bulgaria 111/180 in their Press Freedom Index, stating that “Despite increasing international pressure, media freedom in Bulgaria has not improved in 2019.” 

Various forms of media pressure are common in Bulgaria such as physical attacks on investigative journalists, or on Media outlets such as public radio and TV. For example, the chief of Bulgarian National Radio Silvia Velikova, who is critical of the government was taken off the air due to her coverage of the “graft-prone judicial system.” Reuters reports “Velikova was reinstated after intervention by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov following a public outcry.” Public service broadcasting in Bulgaria, including BNR, is financed mainly through a state subsidy.

Government Influence on Media: The Government subsidizes national public broadcasting organizations such as Bulgarian National Television (BNT), Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), and the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA – Bulgaria’s national news agency). The Council for Electronic Media (CEM) is the media regulator for broadcast media in Bulgaria, they appoint the directors of Bulgarian National Television (BNT), and Bulgarian National Radio (BNR). According to the Radio and Television Act, the media regulator consists of five members, three of whom are elected by the National Assembly, and two are appointed by the President. In general, public broadcasters are primarily funded by government subsidies, although how the rates are determined is not transparent. These public broadcasters, particularly BNT, are underfunded. When it comes to ownership of media, there is very little transparency in Bulgaria. Although he sold some of his assets, most of the print media in Bulgaria is owned by politician-businessman Delyan Peevski and his mother Irena Krasteva. Reporters without Borders report that “ The government continues to allocate EU and public funding to media outlets with a complete lack of transparency.” 

In conclusion, the Bulgarian Government has direct and indirect control and influence over the media outlets since most of them are directly and indirectly financed through the government and political parties. The lack of transparency in the allocation of funds makes it difficult for media consumers to determine the level of government influence and bias.


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