Amnesty International: Media Freedom in Bulgaria Deteriorates Further

Amnesty International: Media Freedom in Bulgaria Deteriorates Further

Sofia, April 7 (BTA) - Amnesty International published its
2020/2021 Report on the State of the World's Human Rights on
Wednesday and the part about Bulgaria reads that media freedom
and freedom of association have further deteriorated, as
authorities targeted journalists and critics, and cracked down
on anti-government protests.

The report further says that the authorities placed some Roma
communities under mandatory COVID-19 quarantines and severely
restricted their movement, while officials engaged in openly
racist rhetoric towards Roma. Domestic violence remained
widespread and resources to support victims were insufficient.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people faced
discrimination and social exclusion.

The part about freedom of expression reads that as part of the
COVID-19 emergency measures in March, the Bulgarian government
proposed amendments to the Criminal Code that would impose heavy
 fines and prison sentences for dissemination of false
information. However, the President vetoed the proposal before
it became law, citing its negative impact on freedom of
Media freedom continued to deteriorate, Amnesty International
says, with journalists investigating organized crime and
corruption facing intense political and prosecutorial pressure
in the form of threats and intimidation.

The organization highlights a case from last July when
investigative reporter Nikolay Staykov was questioned by the
Prosecutor's Office and threatened with prosecution after he
released a documentary which implicated the Prosecutor's Office
in a financial crime.

Several journalists covering the anti-government protests in the
 capital, Sofia, in September were physically assaulted by
police; one was detained for hours. The Council of Europe's
Commissioner for Human Rights called the actions "unacceptable"
and urged the authorities to investigate the attacks, Amnesty
International says.

Amnesty International recalls that in its Rule of Law Report in
September, the European Commission expressed serious concerns
about the lack of transparency of media ownership and noted that
 media remained subject to systematic political control. Ranking
 111th out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index,
Bulgaria remained the EU member state with the lowest standard
of media freedom, the NGO says. RI/MY

Source: Sofia