BULGARIA: SEEMO Urges Bulgarian Religious Representatives to Abstain from Pressuring Journalists

BULGARIA, 14/03/2012

“I strongly condemn pressure on reporters in Bulgaria and urge the authorities of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to respect media freedom,” said Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General of the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI).

On 13 March 2012, Metropolitan Kalinik of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church tried to silence a reporter by threatening her. Eliana Dimitrova, a reporter with the public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT), approached several Orthodox bishops, gathered for a Synod meeting, and asked a question related to recently uncovered files that allegedly reveal collaboration between religious leaders and former security services during the socialist regime in Bulgaria.

Metropolitan Kalinik approached the journalist, according to a BNT video posted on the broadcaster’s website, in order to silence her. He wanted to “shut her mouth,” according to his own words, registered on the video.

“I am surprised that a religious representative behaves in this way. I do hope that the church authorities will take actions against Metropolitan Kalnik and condemn his behavior,” said Oliver Vujovic.

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