The Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria (AEJ-Bulgaria) condemns the aggression toward a bTV cameraman by Peter Nizamov, known as Perata. Nizamov hit our colleague Peter Dzhanavarov while the latter was filming the protest in the town of Asenovgrad on 2 July.
Attacks against journalists have particularly serious implications since they not only constitute an assault against one’s personality but also undermine the public’s right to be informed.
AEJ-Bulgaria calls on the authorities to apply the existing laws in their entirety. In a country based on the rule of law, people like Nizamov may not act violently toward different social groups with impunity. Noteworthy, AEJ-Bulgaria only recently issued a position on the lawsuits Nizamov had launched against media organizations in the city of Burgas. As AEJ-Bulgaria stated in its position back then, it is unacceptable for journalists to pay the price for the lack of proper application of the law.
At the same time, the case involving Nizamov draws our attention toward the media’s responsibility. Nizamov received considerable media attention through his aggression toward refugees. Nizamov’s evolution shows why journalists should not provide an uncritical platform to such people and shape aggressors spreading hatred into heroes. The uncritical coverage of such people and events may appear attractive on TV and attract viewers but this is only for a short period of time after which a lot more people suffer from the consequences.