The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed support for the protest organised by the Bulgarian section of the Association of European Journalists held yesterday, 11 October, in front of the National Assembly.
Journalists in the country decided to rally after Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simenov recently accused Bulgaria’s main electronic media – private broadcasters NOVA TV and BTV, as well as public television and radio – of having led a “massive smear campaign” against him. This was a result of days of tension between the ruling party and the media in the country. Simenov was recently a guest of a TV morning show along with another MP, during which he threatened the host by alluding he could have him fired.
“Journalists can and must stand up to political pressure, and we support our colleagues in Bulgaria who have done so” Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General said today. “The conceited notions that Bulgarian politicians seem to have, according to which they are allowed to accuse journalists, use hate speech and present themselves as victims is absurd. We condemn their behavior and call on institutions in the country to better regulate the pressures journalists face politically” Vujovic added.
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.