Prokopiev’s NGO stumbled over Peevski Act

The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria sings in chorus with bivol.bg despite the fact that it upheld the act during the public debate in parliament

The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria (AEJ) has furnished an ostensive proof that its opinion may change not on the basis of principles but to accommodate the wishes of its mentors. Hours after bivol.bg, the site linked with the Kremlin’s propaganda machine, and five other internet sites complained of the texts in the Peevski Act aimed at shedding light on the medias’ property their complaint was supported by the AEJ-Bulgaria.

The outcry was caused by some provisions in the normative act which require that all media in Bulgaria, online editions including, should declare their financial sources together with donations. The idea of the movers – MP and publisher of Telegraph Media Delyan Peevski and his colleagues from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms Yordan Tsonev, Hamid Hamid and Velislava Krasteva – was that this way it will become clear who is talking to the public from the pages of the respective editions. 

Bivol, as well as the other sites which undersigned the open letter against the amendments, work in synchrony with the satellite media of the Capital circle sustained by the indicted oligarch Ivo Prokopiev and his partners, Ognyan Donev and Sasho Donchev. Very often they elaborate on or copy-paste disinformation and fake news disseminated by these editions.

However, proforma their owners are completely different people while as sources of finance they declare donations. This has always raised doubts that the donations are just a cover-up for the real sponsors of these sites. These doubts prove to be reasonable and it is evidenced by their attacks against Peevski Act which they are trying to present as “an encroachment” on freedom of speech.

The truth is that nothing prevents the signees of the open letter from informing their readers just like they were doing it so far. The only difference is that now they will do it against the backdrop of the already known sponsors. Thus it will be clear what of the sites gravitating to Capital are generously supported with the funds generated during the mafia-style privatisation and for whom work those several media sustained with the money stolen from CorpBank.

The sites which screen their covert financial sources are fully aware that fishing in murky waters is the best that is why they do not want to abide by any regulations and give away who is financing them and why. Most probably this is the reason for the support rendered to them by the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria.

It is noteworthy that this same NGO upheld the texts of the Act during the public debate in the parliament organised by the Committee on Culture to the National Assembly shortly before the final approval of these provisions in the plenary hall.

Then the AEJ-Bulgaria approved of the amendments with the motive that this was a “step in the right direction” which surprised even some of its members. The reason is that this evolutionary stand was voiced after a series of attacks against the amendments which was tendentiously carried on for months with the participation of this very Association. By the way the attacks were resumed after the amendments were adopted.

Members of AEJ-Bulgaria very soon forgot that they upheld the amendments and even demanded that they should be vetoed. What has made Prokopiev’s NGO spin around is a moot question. The same applies to the suspicion that the possible reason was the absence of clear-cut instructions during the debate. It stands to no doubt, however, that such zigzagging demonstrates total unscrupulousness and prove that in this case the Association assumes the role of a racketeer’s club rather than being a guardian of fair journalism.

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