Bulgaria: Parliament considering legislation on media ownership

4 July 2018 – Bulgaria’s Parliament adopted in principle a draft law submitted by Movement for Rights and Freedoms MPs, including businessman media owner Delyan Peevsky, on the disclosure of real owners and financing of media outlets, Bulgarian National Television reported.

Under the draft law it would be compulsory for print, electronic and online media outlets to provide information about their current owner on their website and state any funding received during the previous calendar year, its size and purpose. However, the outlets do not have to disclose information on bank loans, advertising revenues and communication contracts from European funds used for hidden financing.

The draft was backed by the government. The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party voted against or abstained because Peevsky was one of the authors. According to Reporters Without Borders, Peevsky owns six newspapers and unofficially controls nearly 80% of the Bulgarian press.

The Union of Bulgarian Journalists issued a statement against the law, saying the bill is meaningless, as it does not help to show the role of politics in the allocation of state and European funds to media controlled by it, continues to hide preferential lending through banks, leaving in the dark the government’s interference in advertising and distribution the press.