That’s what he says beforePauline Ades-Mevel, Head of Reporters Without Borders, European Union and Balkans Division. Here is what she commented on the methodology of the Freedom of Speech Index:
“Of course, we reacted and were extremely shocked by what was happening on Bulgarian National Radio – the fact that a longtime reporter was taken off the air on September 13. Because we believe that this attack on a journalist, this pressure on a journalist is most likely manifestation of a tendency and we are afraid that this will not stop with this action.I think that so far the BNR has been in some sense protected, especially in relation to public television, simply because I am not sure that political leaders are as interested in radio as in television.
So far, we have wondered how public radio has been able to broadcast reports and opinions that are not always positive for the people in power in the country.
Reporters Without Borders, of course, is often asked why Bulgaria is so far behind in the Index that we publish every year. Therefore, let me first tell you more about how we work. We send a questionnaire compiled by Reporters Without Borders in 180 countries, from which we receive answers from media experts. We combine qualitative analyzes with data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists in the last 12 months. People respond to this questionnaire, which has been translated into 20 languages to ensure that both the questions and the answers are very accurate.
We analyze the answers according to various criteria and indicators on which we rely. The state of pluralism, for example. We measure the levels at which different opinions are represented in the media. This is something that is not very visible in Bulgaria. Another indicator is media independence. It measures the extent to which different media can work without pressure. We are not sure that the media in Bulgaria really work independently of political institutions or other influences.
We also analyze the environment in which news providers operate. If we look at what is happening in the country, we can see that there are various sources of pressure – from representatives of the judiciary, from politicians and parties, but also physical attacks. All this leads to a bad media environment and censorship.
And what about the legislative framework – we measure its impact on the quality of news and information activities. Transparency of institutions is a particularly important factor. They do not work transparently in Bulgaria. If we look at the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information, for now we have the feeling that, without small exceptions, the situation is very critical.
We do not know who owns the media and to what extent. For example, we have no idea how much and what kind of media in the country Mr. Peevski owns and how much of the distribution network is under his control.
Lastly, of course, we measure abuse and violence. These are generally the criteria. And in all these indicators, Bulgaria is far behind other countries, for example, even from neighboring Romania. We think the situation is extremely bad. ”