site.btaUPDATED Third Panel of 18th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media: Holidays and Media
The media coverage of holidays was discussed on Saturday by journalists in the third and last panel of the 18th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media organized by BTA.
LIK magazine Editor-in-Chief Yanitsa Hristova pointed out that news about holidays in Bulgaria in the 1950s, 60s, even as recently as the late 80s, were used for propaganda. Even still, culture found a way to go beyond propaganda and leave its mark in history.
Hristova recalled that LIK magazine was relaunched in March 2022 with an issue dedicated to the March Music Days in Ruse, on the Danube. She said: "This is an iconic festival that proves that music is a celebration that attracts people who choose the profession of musician".
The latest issue of LIK is dedicated to the Rose Festival. Hristova shared that the first article on this topic from BTA's newsletter was from 1946. The Festival itself was not mentioned, however, local people shared that they were happy that rose picking was part of their work.
Daniel Koev, presenter of a Bulgarian podcast in the US, said that besides the Bulgarian national holidays, every occasion when the Bulgarian community can get together is a holiday. He added that at such gatherings Bulgarians play Bulgarian music, eat Bulgarian food and talk about Bulgaria.
Gabriela Hadzhikostova who publishes the Bulgarski Vesti paper in Hungary said that being a Bulgarian in Hungary is a festive experience. She said that Bulgarians there strive for improvement and development.
Hadzhikostova said that the Bulgarian diaspora in Hungary is a historic community, which has had an urban presence for more than a century. Today, the community boasts a number of institutions, such as its own school and kindergarten, a professional theatre, a newspaper and a magazine. "They reflect the life of the community, which is our main mission. We carry out this mission with the awareness that we are responsible not only for reporting but also for educating," Hadzhikostova said.
Lyudmil Kardjilov, Director of News and Current Affairs Programmes at Bulgaria's Darik Radio, said that while people like the holidays, the question is whether they like the holiday programming of the media. "It seems to me that for 30 years we have been programming all kinds of holidays according to a stereotype." In his view, the media offer their audiences almost the same holiday programme every time, whether it is a holiday like May 24 (the Day of the Bulgarian Alphabet, Education and Culture and of Slav Letters), or Christmas and New Year.
Prof. Ivan Zhelev, author of the Orthodox Calendar column at BTA, said that the Bulgarian people has a number of holidays and knows how to observe them. Zhelev added: "Today [Saturday] is also a holiday, albeit one that is little sad, Saturday of Souls. Today we honour our loved ones who have passed away".
Zhelev also spoke about Pentecost, which is celebrated on Sunday, as well as the two most important holidays in the Orthodox Christian calendar - Easter and Christmas.
BTA Director General Kiril Valchev said there is more to a holiday than the propaganda understanding. According to Valchev, three questions need to be answered - whether the media should cover the holidays, which holidays to cover, and how.
"The Rose Queen was crowned yesterday, tomorrow you will see a wonderful procession all over Kazanlak when all the school students sing and dance and their orchestras play music. Should this procession be on the national media in Bulgaria in real time like the procession for the coronation of King Charles III?" BTA's Director General asked.
He urged the media to talk about holidays. For instance, many stories in BTA's BG World section are about how Bulgarians around the world celebrate something, "how you observe traditions, how you get together". He added that it is important to know how people celebrate away from their homeland.
As to how holidays should be shown by the media, Valchev said it would be good for children to grow up with the traditions of their people, their faith. "I urge you to show the holidays to the Bulgarians. Everybody gets together in a celebration - at the table, in the procession." He said that children are taught from a young age to hate each other, but the big goal is to create happy people. It seems that children are persuaded to leave Bulgaria and not to remember they are Bulgarian. Valchev told the representatives of the Bulgarian media abroad: "You are doing the opposite - trying to remind them where they are from. Let us show the holidays too!"
BTA is organizing the 18th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media in Kazanlak from June 1 to June 4, 2023, with the assistance of the Municipality of Kazanlak, the 13 Centuries Bulgaria National Endowment Fund, Aurubis Bulgaria, Doverie Pension Assurance Company, Post Bank, A1 and Nestle Bulgaria AD.