Coverage by the Bulgarian-language media of an annual report on the state of the Bulgarian media said a lot about, well, the state of the Bulgarian media.
On February 4, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Media Democracy Foundation released a report on the media, accompanied by a survey by opinion polling agency Market Links.
The report analysed coverage of politics by four newspapers – Presa, Sega, Telegraf and Trud – and four television stations – public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television and privately-owned bTV, Nova and TV7.
According to the report, the Bulgarian Socialist Party government in which Plamen Oresharski occupies the prime minister’s chair is given a generally soft ride by the media (“media comfort” in literal translation of the customarily-used Bulgarian term).
This seemed to to suggest a major discrepancy with the view taken by most Bulgarians, who support public protests demanding the resignation of the government.
At the same time, Market Links found that just 14 per cent of those polled saw journalism in Bulgaria as independent. Fifty-seven per cent had the greatest confidence in television news, 22 per cent in online media and only three per cent in radio.
The report noted the prominent coverage given to Nikolai Barekov, formerly of TV7 – owned by the New Bulgarian Media Group of Irina Krasteva, mother of Delyan Peevski – and around whom the “Bulgaria without Censorship” party has been formed. Polls do not show that party as having emerged as a major force, but those in charge in coverage in Bulgarian media seem to find it more worthy of stories than the activities of Kristian Vigenin, foreign minister in the BSP government, the report noted.
Media analyst Orlin Spassov told a news conference at the launch of the report that 2013 had been characterised by negative media campaigns, linking this to drops in the popularity of Boiko Borissov, leader of centre-right opposition party GERB and former prime minister, and of President Rossen Plevneliev, elected as head of state in 2011 on a GERB ticket.