BTA convenes congress of world news agencies

In 2019, our country will host the most noteworthy media event in the history of Bulgaria - the 6th World Congress of News Agencies. It will be held 12-16 June in Sofia and Plovdiv, as the 2019 European capital of culture, said BTA Director General Maxim Minchev at a closing ceremony of the 14th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media on 28 October in Skopje.

The agency has done serious groundwork for this forum in Bulgaria, which is very challenging for organisers, Minchev also said. He added that the congress is held every three years, and following the tradition, it gathers reps of news agencies from about 150 countries. The participants are the biggest TV channels and newspapers, and in recent years such technological giants as Google and Microsoft are also significantly represented, Minchev said further. One of the issues addressed during the discussions in Skopje was propaganda and the role of journalism as its corrective.

“Little-by-little journalism backs down on propaganda,” said the director of the Cultural Communications Directorate in BTA, Georgi Lozanov. The participants also touched upon Bulgaria's 111 place in the media freedom index in the ranking of Reporters Without Borders, and the meeting of professional standards in covering the murder of journalist Victoria Marinova in Rousse. In the opinion of the daily Monitor Newspaper's Editor-in-Chief Lyubomira Budakova, who represented Telegraph Media at the forum, in Bulgaria have mushroomed media outlets which either inadvertently, with the aim of 'making a show', or deliberately, in order to cater to someone's interests, actually erode confidence in mass media. “What we observe now can be qualified as media 'cannibalism'. It is not murder, it is 'rape' of Bulgarian journalism,” she said. Budakova also stressed that, in Bulgaria, the number of daily media alone is 43, and for this reason we can hardly talk of a lack of choice. The problem is to whom we decide to give credit, she added. As regards the fact that Bulgaria ranks 111 on the media freedom index, she commented that she did not know anyone who has filled in the questionnaire of Reporters Without Borders. When we castigate ourselves we have to turn to facts, Budakova said.

Bulgarian National Radio's Director General Alexander Velev added that feedback in journalism is of great importance. “The problem is to differentiate between fake and real news,” he said. “Because an erroneous choice may mislead the public.”

According to journalist Yosif Davidov, who publishes Nova Duma - the only Bulgarian-language newspaper in Spain, a reporter is a bridge thrown between facts and the community. If this bridge is strong enough it can take a division of tanks, but if it is rickety, even the most minor piece of news can break it.

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