Vienna, 10 October 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed criticism after members of the Bulgarian government implicitly threatened a journalist of NOVA TV during a TV show. </p>
On 6 October, Nova Televizia morning talk show host Viktor Nikolaev was part of a debate with GERB lawmaker and parliament member Anton Todorov and Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov. The journalist posed questions regarding the recent purchase of a fighter jet for the Bulgarian Air Force and also questioned the disreputable appointments of the MP’s friends and family during recent local elections, which was a point of discussion in the Parliament as well.
Todorov, who was involved in the recent jet purchase, responded by accusing Nikolaev of “shaking the state” with his inquiry and “using very strong words” and alluded to the fact that the journalists’ former colleague Anna Tsolova had been removed from the program, and Nikoalev will also soon be removed. The lawmaker added that “they will eat your bread; they have already taken your colleagues’ bread”.
Deputy Prime Minister Simeonov asked the host how he was appointed at Nova TV by stating, “don’t you have relatives? Aren’t they working somewhere? Where do they work?”, implying that the journalist had been employed through connections. Simeonov also added that “if he had evil intentions, he could make a scandal out of it”. <br><br>
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.