Parliament Supports in Principle MRF Bill on Disclosure of Real Owners and Financing of Media Organizations

NW 11:46:31 04-07-2018

Parliament Supports in Principle MRF Bill
on Disclosure of Real Owners and
Financing of Media Organizations

Sofia, July 4 (BTA) - Parliament approved in principle a bill on the disclosure of real owners and financing of media organizations moved by MPs of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), including deputy-businessman-media owner Delyan Peevski. The authors said the sole aim of the bill is to bring to light the press owners and distributors, and show whether or not this is a monopolist market.

The bill provides for the disclosure of all sources of financing of media organizations other than the proceeds from advertising and bank loans. The opponents of the bill believe that it is aimed against the few remaining opposition-minded news media, which use financing from non-government organizations and foreign grants.

MP Anton Koutev (Socialist) said that the bill "goes in the right direction" but his concern is that Delyan Peevski, who he said "has turned into a symbol of the merger of business and politics, which is a major problem in Bulgaria" is among the authors.

He also said it worries him that Parliament is being used in an attempt to give Peevski's image a whitewash.

The entire debate focused on Peevski.

Bill co-author Yordan Tsonev said that all bills proposed by Peevski, have been in the best interest of the Bulgarian society. He went on to ask what was wrong with being involved both in politics and business, and mentioned some notable examples including US President Trump and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Vezhdi Rashidov (GERB), who heads the parliamentary culture committee, said that society needs to know who are the real media owners and what financing they use. He said "some people receive foreign financing but this money is always given to get a certain job done".

Volen Siderov of the power-sharing United Patriots said that this is a good bill. His group will propose broadening its application to require of the workers in media organizations to disclose their incomes as well.

Siderov said that online media "are the biggest problem". LN/