Delyan Peevski: The oligarchs, who plundered the national wealth, are now wagging a finger

Delyan Peevski

For more than five months, the Commission for Protection of Competition has not addressed the request for approval of a deal for the sale of Telegraph Media to New Image Media, which is inadmissible and does not comply with the terms that the Commission set for such procedures.

Most probably, the reason for that does not lie in the complexity of the approval procedure, but in the fact that it concerns a media connected with me. I cannot tolerate such double standards applied by a state regulatory body, and that is why today (10 October) I revoke the request for approval and declare that I withdraw from the deal as well.

Also today, I set up Telegraph foundation, the main aim of which will be development of the media market, building up professionalism and fighting against fake news, no matter in what guise they come. With a view to this purpose, only prominent Bulgarian journalists will sit on the foundation's board of directors. These will be people who have always stood up for the truth and are not afraid of voicing their personal stand. After the foundation is registered, I will transfer the ownership of Telegraph Media wholly to it, which will also transfer responsibility for the print media published by the company - Telegraph, Monitor, Politika and Meridian Match. Thus, I withdraw from the publishing business and delegate my authorities to the members of the board of directors. My participation will be restricted to the financial support for the foundation in order to enable it to attain its goals.

In my opinion, it is high time that journalists controlled the media content, because this is the only way to guarantee media independence. How many times in recent years have we witnessed that purely media events were turned into oligarchic gatherings where instead of journalists we saw arm-in-arm dubious businessmen, indicted and defendants, as well as persons whose property was under distraint. Is this the so widely discussed media freedom, which has to be the barometer of our society - instead of journalists in pursuit of truth, the oligarchs (indicted and defendants) are those who form the public opinion and set the public agenda motivated solely by their private interests and the urge to square accounts with institutions or competitors? The oligarchs, who - only yesterday - took part in the plunder of the national wealth via mafia-style privatisations, today are smugly wagging a finger at us, while employing their satellite media for manipulation and the circulation of fake news. It is the same persons who for years on end have been launching smear campaigns against me, owing to the fact that my media outlets exposed their shady deals and were the only ones which opposed their manipulations.

As a publisher of print media, I no longer want to be associated in any possible way with this group of media owners and believe it is high time that we stood firmly against the degenerate media environment they created. The editorial policy has to be determined solely by real events and public interests and not by the oligarchic media circles. Only then, the Bulgarian media will be able to shake off all dependencies, their freedom will not be just lip service, and our country will stop being a laggard in terms of media freedom. 

 

Statement by lawmaker and publisher Delyan Peevski addressed to the mass media.

 

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