Bulgarian Media: No Reasons to PartyEditorial |Author: Maria Guineva | May 3, 2011, Tuesday // 16:09| views
May 3 is the global press freedom day, but the mood of Bulgarian journalists and reporters is in doldrums.
Most in Bulgarian media today face the gloomy reality of either "speaking well" of the powerful, generating custom-ordered articles, or, if wishing to keep integrity – at best writing in own independent blogs and sites, or, at worse, remaining silent.
With an increasingly edgy cabinet and Prime Minister, Bulgarian journalists are being refused comments, scolded and accused of a number of sins on a daily basis for trying to do the job they must do.
Prime Minister Borisov recently told a reporter: "Who are you for me to answer your questions? Mind your own business!," as if a reporter has other business than the one of asking questions.
Just a day earlier, the Bulgarian edition of Deutsche Welle, published a report of the Bulgarian Audit Office, showing how the ex leadership of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy paid enormous amounts of money to a number of private Bulgarian outlets for positive coverage and PR, technically proving the informally well-known existence of "state corruption" in the media.
On the very occasion of press freedom day, the World Press Freedom Index 2011, released by Reporters without Borders, ranked Bulgaria's press freedom last in the European Union, together with East Timor and India. The ranks have been slipping down for years in a row now, to the 77th place in 2011, after being 48th in 2005, and hitting its best 35th spot in 2006.
Then, hours later, the project for investigative journalism www.bivol.bg, official partner of the notorious whistle-blowing WikiLeaks, and the Balkanleaks site, a WikiLeaks analogue, publised a WikiLeaks-originated diplomatic cable, dated June 6, 2009.
The report, signed by former US Ambassador to Sofia, Nancy McEldowney, is titled Bulgarian Media: Lacking Money and Morals.
Needless to say more.
But it is, to put it mildly, embarrassing to have foreign media and diplomats tell us the harsh truth we already now.
The majority of Bulgarian journalists today have a hard time "minding their own business," let alone reasons to celebrate their "global freedom day."
Or as Borisov would say: "Congratulation!" Bulgarian media.