Police violence and press restrictions raise further red flags in Bulgaria

MFRR partners send a letter to the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Interior Minister and the Speaker of the National Assembly following a number of alarming developments facing journalists and media workers in the country.

The letter, sent to the Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Interior Minister Hristo Terziyski and the Speaker of the National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva, condemned recent police violence and intimidation towards journalists and media workers reporting on recent anti-government protests.

It also raised concerns over the recent police questioning of a journalist and the recent implementation of a restrictive new system for press access inside the new Bulgarian Parliament building, calling for action to be taken to investigate allegations and increase transparency.

UPDATE. On 28 September, Associate Professor Dr Diana Kovatcheva, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria responded to the MFRR, confirming that she has submitted a recommendation to the Speaker of the National Assembly to provide a guarantee that journalists have complete access to the Parliament. As well as this, she has called on the Minister of Interior to carry out a “thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the allegations of police violence”. Read the response below.

Nik Williams