MRF launches new proposal: media to declare revenue from EU projects and loans

Media financed by grants are distorting the market picture, says MP Yordan Tsonev

Yordan Tsonev

All media are to declare funds received under EU projects and from bank loans. These are the amendments prepared by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) that will be introduced between the first and second reading of the draft bill on the mandatory deposit of print and other materials act. This transpired from the commentary on the act by MRF MP Yordan Tsonev for the Bulgarian National Radio.

The act is aimed at bringing to light the media owners and their financial sources. The amendments worked out by our publisher and MP Delyan Peevski and his colleagues from the MRF faction Yordan Tsonev, Hamid Hamid and Velislava Krasteva were adopted by the National Assembly after first reading a week ago.

“Now we are preparing amendments that will enhance transparency. They will include media crediting and financing under specific projects (be they provided by the state or EU funds) as well as gratuitous financing and grants. All in all, we call for transparency of the entire process of media ownership, creation and distribution. Currently we are thinking over how to make this process transparent and spread this rule over the e-media too”, Tsonev commented his point.

He further explained that the main characteristic of the media environment is the fact that in recent years the obscure situation creates opportunities for libel and generating fake news.

“We want to put an end to this obscurity. One of our theses is whether there is a monopoly in media distribution. Some maintain that it is Delyan Peevski who holds this monopoly. After the registry is adopted and all data are declared we will see what is the percentage share of each media and how are they financed”, the MP stated.

Tsonev reminded that in recent years the media have made significant progress. Thus a debate was started, especially among the right-wing political specter, about whether there was transparency of ownership, financing and crediting of media in Bulgaria. “It was noteworthy that those who pose this question but abstain from any relevant political project (for instance the Reformist Bloc) did not move a draft bill that would make this ownership absolutely transparent. And as soon as we did it they all of a sudden started criticizing us and vehemently opposed our initiative, he explained.

According to him, it is important to know who is who in the Bulgarian media and its distribution because this illuminates the dependencies of certain journalists and editorial policies. “A businessman may be in politics just like Donald trump is,” he explained and noted that media concentration is in the competence of the Commission for Protection of Competition and should first be ascertained as such. “The law will create prerequisites for media concentration to be ascertained in the case that there is one. Across the world there is no ban for media moguls or businessmen to enter into politics but there should be complete transparency of the process. That is all!” said Tsonev.

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