Bulgarian nationalist newspaper becomes latest to cease publication

Bulgarian nationalist newspaper becomes latest to cease publication

Sofia, August 26, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

Bulgarian nationalist weekly Desant, owned by National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria leader Valeri Simeonov and self-described as a “patriotic” publication, has printed its last issue.

It is the latest in a series of Bulgarian publications to cease printing in 2016, following daily Novinar, Bulgarian-Turkish daily Zaman-Bulgaria and the decision for daily Trud to stop coming out on Sundays.

Official statistics by Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute in recent years have shown steady declines not only in the number of Bulgarian print publications, but also in the circulations of those that remain.

Desant was started in April 2009 under the ownership of Simeonov, who is co-leader of the nationalist Patriotic Front, a minority partner in Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s coalition government, which it supports in Parliament while not having seats in the Cabinet.

In a valedictory message in Desant’s last issue on August 26, editor Sevdalina Peneva wrote; “For more than seven years we have been with you and through all that time, we have not been tempted to serve foreign foundations and to further their interests, that are harmful to our country, for pennies, as is the vicious practice in the so-called ‘big media'”.

Peneva said that unfortunately, today in Bulgaria the conditions for financial support of newspapers, “standing on the foundations of honest journalism”, did not exist.

For years, the printing of Desant was supported solely by its publisher, Skat TV Ltd – the company of Simeonov’s mouthpiece nationalist television channel.

Now, however, there were compelling economic reasons not to continue this, Peneva said.

Desant will continue as a website.

Simeonov said that Desant could not continue “because of the inexorable laws of a market economy” and “because of our unwillingness to serve interests in return for a fee”.