A murder in 2018, EU’s third in a year
One might have expected an improvement in press freedom in 2018 because Bulgaria held the European Council’s rotating presidency during the first half of the year but instead the opposite occured. 2018 saw TV journalist Viktoria Marinova’s murder in October and a blatant attempt by the authorities to cover up the circumstances by botching the investigation. Corruption and collusion between media, politicians and oligarchs is widespread in Bulgaria. The most notorious embodiment of this aberrant state of affairs is Delyan Peevski, who ostensibly owns two newspapers (Telegraph and Monitor) but also owns a TV channel (Kanal 3), news websites and a big chunk of print media distribution.The government continutes to allocate EU funding to media outlets with a complete lack of transparency, with the effect of bribing recipients to go easy on the government in their reporting, or to refrain from covering certain problematic stories altogether. At the same time judicial harassment of independent media, such as the Economedia group, has increased. Threats against reporters have also increased in recent months, to the extent that journalism is now dangerous in Bulgaria.
111 in 2018
35.22 in 2018