Yesterday morning (17 October) I launched this website. Hours later the Ministry for the Bulgarian Presidency published a press release warning against websites using the name of the Bulgarian Presidency, in which it says it “categorically refuses to accept” such “targeted malicious attacks”.
Moreover, a newspaper close to the Government, ‘24 chasa’, published an article which says that the authorities fear that the website I created “could be used for badmouthing Bulgaria in front of its partners”. The article finishes with the following sentence: “There are doubts in Bulgaria if this is not part of a hybrid war and financing from certain circles in Bulgaria”.
The article is not signed. Nobody contacted me from ’24 chasa’, although my mobile number is published on this website.
Television “Evropa”, also close to the government, broadcast this morning criticism of me and my project. Again, nobody contacted me. This is usual journalistic standards in Bulgaria.
As a first comment, regarding financing, everything so far is covered by my private savings. I hope to attract advertising. Those who took the time to read the articles probably notice that it follows the journalistic standards of EURACTIV, the media network for Europe, which gives me its full support.
— Christophe Leclercq (@LeclercqEU) October 17, 2017
The attacks remind me the times when Communist Bulgaria feared Radio Free Europe.
Unfortunately, media freedom in Bulgaria has constantly deteriorated since the country joined the EU. The2017 media freedom index of Reporters Without Borders ranks Bulgaria as number 109. As an example, Mauritania is ranked N. 55, Mauritius N. 56, Madagascar N. 56, Senegal N. 58, the Dominican Republic N. 59. This is what Reporters without borders say about Bulgaria: “Bulgaria is ranked lower in the World Press Freedom Index than any other European Union member. This is due to an environment dominated by corruption and collusion between media, politicians, and oligarchs”.
I’m sorry to say that the authorities in Bulgaria see the media it two categories: “friendly” and “dangerous”. I invite readers to continue to follow this dangerous website and to react to the articles, including this one. This would be the best way of supporting my project.