Oligarchy's minions slander Peevski
They lie about his publications getting money from the EU when they themselves received nearly BGN 1m
12 January, 2018
A blatant lie regarding lawmaker Delyan Peevski was fabricated by a group of carefully selected mouthpieces of the oligarchy who posed as “independent analysts” for a foreign media outlet.
The Belgium daily newspaper La Libre Belgique published the latest feature article on Bulgaria in connection with the launch of the country's Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January. The story has an original headline that reads “How Bulgaria, Which Takes over the EU Presidency, Violates Freedom of the Press”, and its author is Maria Udrescu. However, the writer's sources can be called anything but original - people passing themselves off as journalists but in reality part of a tight-knit network controlled by a certain oligarchic clique. The international journalistic standard of giving platform to the opposite side's point of view was not observed, neither was the rule for using independent sources. The good practice of fact-checking was also discarded, as the information essentially comes from one place - minions of the Bulgarian oligarchy.
At first glance, the allegations in the story sound shocking. Even the headline is sobering - violating press freedom. However, a deeper look shows that La Libre Belgique parrots all the talking points about Delyan Peevski constantly hammered by the Fake News Factory, a creation of oligarch Ivo Prokopiev and his Capital media group, and its satellite websites, also funded by dubious businessmen. The article cites claims about the number of newspapers owned by our publisher and an insistence that he has his own TV channel that are all obvious lies, not to mention the blatant manipulation that he owns 80 of the press distribution firms in Bulgaria. Every single one of the so-called sources of these claims is fully aware of their falsehood, but the author washes her hands off by simply citing their allegations. Especially brazen hypocrisy is demonstrated in the claim of Stoyana Georgieva, once a spokesperson for former PM Ivan Kostov, that “the money of European taxpayers is used to empower Peevski and the oligarchs.” First, this is a complete slander, as neither any of Peevski's newspapers (Telegraph, Monitor or Politika) nor the website Monitor Agency have ever taken part in projects involving EU funding. Second, such a claim is made even more insolent by the fact that it was Monitor Agency that published the results of an enquiry with the Public Procurement Agency and the United Management Information System for the EU Structural Instruments in Bulgaria. They revealed that the Capital group and its affiliated oligarchic media outlets received BGN 740,422 from the EU.
This sum refers to the previous 2007-2014 programming period alone and does not include the money they got under another item - public procurement orders for publishing messages and announcements made by public institutions. This category amounts to BGN 448,560.
Without any logical connection, the article describes incidents of attacks against journalists in Bulgaria committed in the past year. Thrown in there is also the Commission for Illegal Assets Forfeiture's (CIAF) move to place under distraint the property of oligarch Ivo Prokopiev, who conveniently poses as businessman and investor whenever he is being held accountable for the lies spread by his media outlets and suddenly sees himself as a publisher and a journalist when the authorities go after his shady deals.
The tried-and-tested scheme for recycling fake news items through the foreign media was executed in a rather sloppy manner here. This is not the first time the puppets of the oligarchic clique, part of which is Prokopiev, have managed to spread their masters' talking points in foreign media outlets. Usually, this is followed by those same oligarchs' media outlets copy-pasting the news that was originally published abroad but in reality dictated by sources in Bulgaria. The Fake News Factory media created a new discipline at the start of this year by furiously reprinting every possible article on Bulgaria related to its EU Presidency, a propaganda approach aimed at creating the sense that the situation in the country is dire. Since the Belgian newspaper article cites as sources people working for the newspapers Dnevnik and Capital, as well as Mediapool, it fell on oligarch Ognyan Donev's website Club Z to copy-paste the content for the Bulgarian audience as an outlet with seemingly no connection to the story. The truth is that Donev, along with Prokopiev and their fellow oligarchs mentored by former PM Ivan Kostov, Sasho Donchev and Tsvetan Vassilev, is financing the Fake News Factory. These people have obviously forgotten that in 1997 it was Prokopiev who was showered with riches thanks to then-premier Ivan Kostov. Later, under the government of Simeon II, Prokopiev continued to exploit his connections with public officials through Vice-PM Lidia Shuleva. When GERB was in power, his protectors were ministers Simeon Djankov and Traycho Traykov (the three are now indicted in connection to a deal involving EVN shares) and Hristo Ivanov, whom later Prokopiev instructed to make him a political party. With Prokopiev's latest problems with CIAF, it emerged that he called PM Boyko Borisov to ask him for help and for the first time was refused protection by those in power. This is why now Prokopiev and his cronies are bent on destroying Bulgaria from the inside and ruining its international image - because their oligarchic model can only exist when they hold the state captive.