Bulgaria Bigotry Watchdog Received 66 Claims against Media

Society | February 27, 2010, Saturday // 19:10|  views

The popular late night show “The Slavi Trifonov Show” has been fined BGN 500 by CPD for age discrimination over a competition for script writers limiting the age of the applicants between 18 and 35. Photo by BGNES

Over 100 complaints have been filed with the Bulgarian Commission for Protection against Discrimination (CDP) in 2009 of which 66 were against various media.

The signals are equally divided between electronic and print media with 37% of the claims involving ethnic discrimination.

CPD presented the information during e media seminar in the resort town of Velingrad, focusing on the fight against discrimination and the role of the media in preventing and countering human rights violations. The seminar was organized as a joint initiative of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and the Bulgarian Commission for Protection against discrimination (CPD). It is held with the financial assistance of the EU Program for Employment and Social Progress.

The popular late night show “The Slavi Trifonov Show” has been fined BGN 500 for age discrimination over a competition for script writers limiting the age of the applicants between 18 and 35. The TV channel SKAT, known for its nationalist programming has been also fined over a political discrimination complaint coming from a municipal councilman form the Black Sea city of Burgas, from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party. The politician said that after signing a declaration against SKAT inciting ethnic hate, his cable TV signal had been interrupted and the cable cut manually – SKAT is the major cable provider in the city of Burgas.

CPD is further examining a claim against Darik radio which broadcast an interview with extreme nationalist Boyan Rasate, where he said that Africans are “ dark skinned monkeys” and “exotic representatives of unknown peole,” who, if coming to Bulgaria, would become a “risk factor” for the increase of crime.

The CPD member, Blagoy Vidin, reported that in 2009 the complaints over labor discrimination have increased the fastest, explaining it with the economic crisis.

Another alarming trend is discrimination against people with disabilities. CPD has registered significant success in the cities of Vidin and Gabrovo where several claimants were able to obtain handicap equipment in different institutions. In the capital Sofia, however, the situation is still grim. The only courthouse equipped with adequate handicap ramps is the Administrative Court’s one. Another example is the Sofia metro where there are no ramps and the elevators are not working thus depriving handicap people from the use of this way of transportation.

Complaints against discrimination of the disabled grow each year and reached 50 in 2009, Vidin says.

6 complains against gender discrimination were also filed in 2009 with more men feeling that they have been unfairly treated over women such as a male college student who failed to obtain a secretarial job.

Other complains include the claim of police officers against an order of the Interior Ministry requiring them to be clean shaven and banning earrings and neck chains, which could not and has not been enforced for their female colleagues.

Men, who were not allowed to enter the courthouse in shorts, also have complained of gender discrimination.

Aneli Chobanova, another CPD member, explained that it the party against which the complaint is filed fails to appear they indirectly admit guilt. Chobanova gave as an example the complaint of 17 members of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) against the then informal leader of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party and now Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov. The complaint was over a statement made by Borisov that all BSP members are people without morals. He was required to publish an apology and restrain from such declarations in the future.

“Borisov did not publish the disclaimer, we published it for him on his expense. He came and paid the fee, and warned the Commission,” Chobanova said.

CPD is going to inform the Prosecutor’s Office about the more and more frequent cases with the Emergency Room failing(in to send ambulances or to send them on time when Roma people or the elderly need urgent help. The Director of the Sofia Emergency Care had been fined twice now by the CPD

More unusual cases include a man, who had to pay BGN 850 stead of BGN 140) for cremating his wife, despite the fact she lived and worked in Bulgaria for a long time, because she was a foreign national from a country outside the EU or another 70-year-old man who felt discriminated since the National Health Insurance Fund did not pay for the Viagra he was using.

CPD say they receive a number of absurd complaints such as the latter, which they did not honor despite the man’s claims his sexual health is important for his human dignity.

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Tags: Commission for Protection against Discrimination, discrimination in media, gender discrimination, age discrimination, people with disabilities


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