site.btaBTA Director General: Bulgaria Is Free, because Bulgarians Can Make Choices
"Today Bulgaria is a free country because Bulgarians have the opportunity to make choices all the time. This is an opportunity that not all our contemporaries around the world have and one that our ancestors did not always have," said the Director General of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), Kiril Valchev, in his address Friday to the participants in the 18th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media in Kazanlak (Central Bulgaria), during the Rose Festival, which has been celebrated here for 120 years.
The theme of the meeting, which opens on June 2, the Day of the Bulgarian national hero and poet Hristo Botev and of those who fell for the freedom of Bulgaria, is "Freedom and media", Valchev added.
In his words, freedom of the media means that they should look at these choices, including the wrong ones, as in a mirror. "Sins are also a fact, including lies," Valchev pointed out. He noted that "free societies like ours should not start resembling the ones we deny by banning, restricting, censoring, deleting whole media or part of their content when we disagree with the wrong choices they have made."
At the world meeting of the Bulgarian media in Kazanlak are represented 33 countries, 40 Bulgarian media are participants - 26 from 15 countries outside Bulgaria on three continents (Europe, America and Australia) and 14 from Bulgaria, as well as three associations of journalists and media and the journalism faculty of the oldest Bulgarian university - Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, the BTA Director General said. Foreign journalists from the national news agencies of 18 partner countries of the Agency are guests at the meeting, he added.
"We at the BTA are best suited not to make a choice, but to give a choice from many options," Valchev stated. "If we start with the rose - in it we can see not only a symbol of Bulgaria, but also its connection with the rest of the world, because its history goes through many of the countries whose national news agencies we have guests here today," he explained and added that there are paintings of roses on frescoes in the Knossos Palace on the Greek island of Crete, dating back to 3700 BC, and in Pompeii in Italy from the 1st century AD.
"The first mention of rose water was in the 9th century in Persia, today's Iran, and in the 17th century they were already distilling rose oil there. In the 10th century rose water was brought to Spain. The Damask rose came to Bulgaria from Turkiye. From here, it reached new places such as the town of Jos in the Nigerian state of Plateau, where, at the beginning of this century, Nigerian businessmen educated in Bulgaria maintained plantations of Bulgarian rose oil. In Hanoi, Vietnam, they hold a Bulgarian rose festival. And Kazanlak is a twin city with other rose cities such as Blida in Algeria," Valchev said.
"Even before Bulgaria became a free country again in the middle of the 19th century there were 1271 boilers for boiling rose oil in Kazanlak. Dimitar Papazov's first rose oil export trading house had offices in Constantinople, Paris, London and New York. Petko Orozov's company traded in Russia, Austria-Hungary and France. And after the Liberation Kancho Shipkov exported 1,600 kilograms of rose oil annually and participated with a stand in the world exhibitions in Paris, London and Chicago, as Aleko Konstantinov, in the travelogue To Chicago and Back, writes how the representative of Shipkov's company 'taught geography on the map, starting his lessons from Constantinople . . then skipped to our capital, then circled the borders of Bulgaria with his cane, and stopped in the Rose Valley, which he renamed for greater effect 'the so-called earthly paradise.' This success of the hard-working Bulgarians has no expiry date, just as the rose oil itself has no expiry date," the BTA Director General stressed.
"At the World Meeting of the Bulgarian Media in Kazanlak we will be addressed by the Vice President at the opening ceremony and the President at the closing, by ministers whose names could be changed until the last moment because of the political moment between the caretaker and the eventual regular government, as well as the author of the lyrics of the emblematic song about the Bulgarian rose, whose longevity extends beyond the political moments in three Bulgarias - a kingdom, a socialist and a democratic republic", Valchev pointed out.
BTA is organizing the 18th World Meeting of the Bulgarian Media in Kazanlak on June 1-4 2023 with the assistance of Kazanlak Municipality, National Endowment Fund “13 Centuries Bulgaria” , Aurubis Bulgaria, POC Doverie, Postbank, A1 and Nestle Bulgaria.