Parliament Holds Hearing on Trud Daily

Sofia, December 8 (BTA) - During the first hearing ever in the 47th National Assembly on Wednesday, Culture Minister Velislav Minekov had to answer questions about the Ministry's actions against the opposition Trud daily but instead, he pummelled the formerly ruling GERB party with his own questions about their treatment of opposition journalists and media outlets while in power. Their response was telling the Parliament Chair he should have asked the Minister to leave for showing disrespect to the legislature.

The National Assembly held a hearing on Trud, which is one of Bulgaria's oldest private media outlets, on a petition by 59 MPs of GERB-UDF following Monday's drive by police and Culture Ministry officials to evict the Trud staff from their editorial offices in a building belonging to the Ministry. According to the Culture Ministry, the company which rents the premises for Trud has delayed the payment of 10 monthly rents and over 100,000 leva for utility costs.

Editor-in-Chief Petyo Blaskov has accused the government of political repressions and said his employees would disobey the order to leave the place. He also said that they were late with the rent payment because the Culture Ministry never asked for the money - until now.

The saga with the sealed-off editorial offices of Trud has been front-page news for some papers for several days now.

Approached by journalists in Parliament's lobby, Minekov said that he will talk with the Regional Governor of Sofia to provide GERB with a State-owned property under the Political Parties Act so that the party could vacate their offices in the National Palace of Culture (NDK).

The party's headquarters are housed on floors 16 and 17 of the NDK Administrative Building, which were taken away from the NDK management during GERB's government over "expired necessity". Now the Culture Ministry wants to get these two floors back and rent them in the hopes that they will generate profit for the NDK with its piles of debt.

In the Minister's words, during the period in which GERB have been using the two floors, the NDK lost revenues from rent to the amount of 6 million leva, considering rent prices in the area.

Toma Bikov MP of GERB said in the plenary chamber that from 2009 to 2019, his party paid a monthly rent of 5,500 leva. Following changes to the Political Parties Act, GERB began using their headquarters free of charge, just like all other parties, he argued.


Source: Sofia