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Freedom of the Press 2010 - Bulgaria

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 30 September 2010
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2010 - Bulgaria, 30 September 2010, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 11
Political Environment: 13
Economic Environment: 10
Total Score: 34

Survey Edition20052006200720082009
Total Score, Status35,PF34,PF34,PF33,PF36,PF
  • The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice.

  • Defamation is punishable by large fines, and government officials have filed suits against journalists, but the courts tend to favor press freedom in such cases.

  • The popular state-owned Bulgarian National Television (BNT) and Bulgarian National Radio continue to air criticism of the government, but they reportedly lack sufficient legal protections against political pressure. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported that BNT carried mostly favorable coverage of the government during the 2009 parliamentary election campaign, while private television outlets provided more balanced information or favored opposition parties. The print media offered broad and diverse views.

  • Reporters continue to face pressure and intimidation aimed at protecting economic, political, and criminal interests. The perpetrators often operate with impunity, leading to some self-censorship among journalists.

  • Unlike in 2008, no murders or high-profile assaults aimed at journalists were reported in 2009.

  • Large foreign media firms play a major role in the private print and television markets. Each of the three main private television stations is owned by a different foreign company, and Germany's WAZ Media Group owns the two leading dailies.

  • Many traditional media outlets have established a presence on the internet, which is not restricted by the government and was used by about 45 percent of the population in 2009. Access in rural areas remains limited.

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