Freedom of the Press
- The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice.
- The country’s reporters continue to face pressure and intimidation aimed at protecting economic, political, and criminal interests. The perpetrators often operate with impunity, leading to some self-censorship among journalists. Georgi Stoev, an author who had written several books on organized crime in Bulgaria, was shot to death by two men in April. He had recently told reporters that he was willing to testify against a major crime boss, but that prosecutors had shown little interest.
- The popular state-owned Bulgarian National Television and Bulgarian National Radio are often critical of the government.
- Large foreign media firms play a major role in the private print and television markets.
- Many traditional media outlets have established a presence on the internet, which is unrestricted by the government and used by about 32 percent of the population.
- The website Opasnite.net was closed on September 4 for publishing classified information regarding corruption among senior police and security officials. State security agents arrested the website administrator of Frognews the following day and questioned him about the investigative news outlet’s suspected links to Opasnite.net. On September 24, Frognews editor Ognian Stefanov was attacked by a group of masked men with hammers, leaving him with serious injuries. Stefanov and Frognews, which focused on investigations of security officials, had reported receiving threatening telephone calls.
Press Freedom Score