Media and political influences in Bulgaria

Conference of the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD)

Also available in Deutsch

On 16 May 2016, the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) presented a study about political influences on Bulgarian media. The study is part of a project about the media situation in Bulgaria which has been supported by the KAS Media Program South East Europe.

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(from left) Dr. Malgorzata Pek, Program Officer at the Council of Europe; Prof. Katharine Sarikakis from the University of Vienna; Christian Spahr, Head of KAS Media Program South East Europe, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bulgaria, Tom van Oorschot, and the CSD Chairman Dr. Ognian Shentov

(from left) Dr. Malgorzata Pek, Program Officer at the Council of Europe; Prof. Katharine Sarikakis from the University of Vienna; Christian Spahr, Head of KAS Media Program South East Europe, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bulgaria, Tom van Oorschot, and the CSD Chairman Dr. Ognian Shentov

CSD Chairman Dr. Ognian Shentov, Tom van Oorschot, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bulgaria and Rumen Alexandrov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Bulgaria, opened the conference.

CSD analysts Tihomir Bezlov and Dr. Lybomir Kutin presented the new study on the media situation in Bulgaria, with a focus on print media. According to the study, the print sector in Bulgaria is most receptive for external influences. The study shows that oligarchic structures have in the print sector have increased since 2010. During the political crisis in 2013 and 2014, these structures became particularly active. However, Bezlov emphasised that TV channels dominate the media landscape in Bulgaria. This was also confirmed by a survey which was commissioned by KAS. "For 68 percent of the Bulgarians, TV is the most favoured source of political information," said Christian Spahr, Head of the KAS Media Program South East Europe.

Spahr took part in a panel discussion about the independence of media. Other speakers were Prof. Dr. Katharine Sarikakis from Vienna University and CSD analyst Dr. Lybomir Kutin. The experts commented on the low trust in the media and its impacts on the development of democracy in Bulgaria. Prof. Dr. Katharine Sarikakis underlined that a lot of European countries have similar deficits in the media sector and that Bulgaria does not represent an individual case.

Christian Spahr gave an overview on the media situation in South East Europe. "Often, the strongest pressure on journalists does not come from politicians but rather from media owners and advertisers who pursue their own political goals." According to the KAS expert, governments should also make their roles as advertisers in the media more transparent and disclose cash flows. Spahr underlined that a broader debate about influences in the media is necessary as these are rarely publicly debated.

The whole presentation of Christian Spahr is available here.

Author

Manuela Zlateva

Publication series

Event Reports

published

Bulgaria, May 16, 2016