EC VP Kroes to Visit Bulgaria over Oppressed MediaBulgaria in EU | September 20, 2012, Thursday // 08:15| views
EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Photo by 925.nl
EU Commissioner responsible for the Digital Agenda and Vice-president of the European Commission Neelie Kroes is to visit Bulgaria on Thursday amid concerns about the country's press freedom.
Kroes will also take part in a conference entitled "Digital Agenda for Europe: Reality ot Still a Challenge."
The conference aims to outline the activities along the guidelines of the "Digital Agenda for Europe" that will help the countries in the region to transform one of its weaknesses into an advantage and overcome the gap in connectivity at national and regional level.
The Commissioner's visit program will include meetings with Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, and Transport Minister, Ivaylo Moskovski.
The visit comes at a time when freedom of media in Bulgaria has been a serious source of concern with a raining near full monopoly on the media market.
Kroes has voiced concerns about freedom of speech in Bulgaria on several occasions. In June 2012, she changed her schedule to participate in a Brussels hearing on media freedom in Bulgaria and made a commitment to personally investigate the situation.
She cited then Reporters without Borders ranking, which placed media freedom in Bulgaria on the abominably low 80th place, saying this was a cause for alarm.
At the end of August, the US New York Times also commented on the subject of media freedom in Bulgaria and cited an email from Kroes where she wrote that she had monitored a growing number of reports of reduced freedom of the news media in Bulgaria. "I have also read about violence and death threats against journalists," Ms. Kroes wrote. "This is alarming."