Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
- The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice.
- Defamation is punishable by large fines, and government officials have filed suits against journalists, but the courts tend to favor press freedom in such cases.
- The popular state-owned Bulgarian National Television (BNT) and Bulgarian National Radio continue to air criticism of the government, but they reportedly lack sufficient legal protections against political pressure. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported that BNT carried mostly favorable coverage of the government during the 2009 parliamentary election campaign, while private television outlets provided more balanced information or favored opposition parties. The print media offered broad and diverse views.
- 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.
- Unlike in 2008, no murders or high-profile assaults aimed at journalists were reported in 2009.
- Large foreign media firms play a major role in the private print and television markets. Each of the three main private television stations is owned by a different foreign company, and Germany’s WAZ Media Group owns the two leading dailies.
- Many traditional media outlets have established a presence on the internet, which is not restricted by the government and was used by about 45 percent of the population in 2009. Access in rural areas remains limited.