Bulgaria dropped dramatically in the world press freedom ranking of Reporters Without Borders from 70th to 80th place in 2011-2012. The country ranks last among the other EU states, sharing the same index with Serbia, Chile and Paraguay. According to the NGO, Bulgaria fails to address the issue of their media freedom violations, above all because of a lack of political will.
“Targeted attacks and death threats against journalists marked the past year in Bulgaria, where concerns about print media pluralism grew”, the annual report states. Last October Reporters Without Borders expressed their serious concerns about the deterioration in the media freedom situation in Bulgaria. They gave as particular examples the “social media hate campaign against Mirolyuba Benatova, a reporter for privately-owned BTV, in connection with her coverage of a conflict involved Roma, and the bombing of TV host Sasho Dikov’s car on the night of 13 October, which have revived the fears of violence that Bulgarian journalists have so often felt in the past”.
At the head of the index are Finland and Norway, followed by Estonia and The Netherlands, which highlighted the divergence of some European countries from the rest of the continent. Hungary fell 17 rungs to 40th place after adopting a law giving the ruling party direct control over the media and amending its constitution in December. At the bottom of the ranking are Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.
“Crackdown was the word of the year in 2011. Never has freedom of information been so closely associated with democracy. Never have journalists, through their reporting, vexed the enemies of freedom so much. Never have acts of censorship and physical attacks on journalists seemed so numerous. The equation is simple: the absence or suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of media freedom. Dictatorships fear and ban information, especially when it may undermine them”, the NGO says in relation mostly with the Arab spring.
You can find the whole text of the report published here.