Bulgarian Rock Singer Complains of Denied Access to 'All Inclusive' Presidential Debate

Presidental & Local Elections 2011 | October 19, 2011, Wednesday // 16:42|  views

Presidential candidate Svetoslav Vitkov (left) and his vice-presidential partner Ventsislav Mitsov have complained that they have been counted out by the BNT staff in charge of the 19 October presidential debate. Photo by BGNES

Svetoslav Viktov, the vocalist of Bulgarian rock band Hipodil and a presidential runner at the forthcoming October 23 elections, has exposed what he refers to as a discriminatory practice of state-owned tv channel BNT.

In a message posted on Vitkov's website, he complains that he has not been invited to participate in a debate among presidential candidates scheduled for October 19.

"After watching the TV show Referendum on BNT yesterday, I realized that a debate is to be held today among the candidates for Bulgarian President and that all runners have been invited. Friends called me to ask if I would go and I said "sure!". It turned however, that I will not. Because I cannot. The TV anchor lied when she said that everyone had been invited because I have not. She also failed to mention that taking part in the event costs money, thereby creating the impression that if someone does not attend, they must be avoiding the debate because they are unprepared," Vitkov stated.

Once he got in touch with the the person in charge of organizing the live debate, a woman named Yakovlevna, Vitkov was told that BNT could not spare the time to call all presidential runners because "the entire TV station would go bankrupt."

Finding the candidates' e-mail addresses was too time-consuming, Vitkov was told.

"This was the reason BNT gave me for not inviting me to the October 19 debate. They also said it was too late to file a request. And the final reason- I had turned down an offer to take part in the morning program of the TV station due to the lack of money (in this case BGN 800) and it had never occurred to them to invite me because they thought we could not afford it," the disappointed presidential runner noted.

In his protest note he also stressed that the choice of a head of state must be determined by knowledge about the powers given to the President by the Constitution and the debate should revolve around this issue, not around highways, civil society or anyone's belonging to a political party.

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Tags: Svetlyo Vitkov, hipodil, presidential elecitons, Bulgarian National Television, BNT, presidential candidate


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