The US Department of state – country report on human rights for 2013 – Bulgaria – concerns about media freedom and pluralism

human rightsThe US Department of state ( Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor) issued its  Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. The section for Bulgaria shows concerns on the media environment in Bulgaria, including treats for the media pluralism as result of corporate and political pressure.
The report states that:
“ The law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respected these rights. Concerns persisted, however, about deterioration of the media environment due to corporate and political pressure that, combined with the growing and nontransparent concentration of media ownership, gravely damaged media pluralism. The International Research and Exchanges Board’s (IREX) 2013 Media Sustainability Index indicated a further decline in the media’s editorial and financial independence and professional standards. IREX noted that the government’s “suppression of the freedom of speech and the media sector’s lack of transparency in ownership have attracted international attention.” It highlighted a “media war” in the courts between conglomerates, growing dependency on government subsidies, and “escalating political pressure, corporate control, and disrespect for professional standards in the mainstream media” as contributing to a continued “slow slide away from the levels of sustainability reached in the years before the country’s EU accession.” During the year the media market saw further concentration of media ownership. There were increased reports of intimidation and violence against journalists.“