Telegraph Media sentenced for telling truth

The fake talking point that Delyan Peevski “has the courts under his thumb” has been destroyed

Delyan Peevski

Elisaveta Panova, wife of the head of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) Lozan Panov, has won a lawsuit against Telegraph Media, as a result of which the company will have to pay her BGN 30,000 in compensation for “publishing offensive and slandering allegations”. In addition, Delyan Peevski will have to cover BGN 2,600 in legal fees as the losing side, gloats the website Mediapool, owned by former PM Ivan Kostov’s one-time spokesperson Stoyana Georgieva.

However, Mediapool is crowing prematurely because our media group has been sentenced for actually telling the truth. The case stems from an April 2017 article entitled “Lozan Panov’s Back Swan has criminal record”. It reveals the fact that Mrs Panova, dubbed the Black Swan not by us but by oligarch Ivo Prokopiev’s political ally Hristo Ivanov, has a criminal history documented by the police. It reflects a 2004 hooliganism incident, in which Mrs Panova resisted authorities. We firmly stand by this assertion because the editorial offices of our publications keep documents that prove as much. Moreover, we have never claimed that Elisaveta Panova has been convicted of a crime, on the contrary. Apparently, some people do not know the difference (or are being deliberately obtuse about it) between “criminal record” and “conviction”.

The court’s decision points that Mrs Panova does not have a criminal record – only a “crime tip” about her. But what is a “crime tip” under the letter of the law? It is a report to the authorities containing information of a suspected crime, irrespective of the form, the source or the way the report was filed with the police. It is like accusing us of lying simply because we reported about a “car crash” and failed to use the term “vehicular accident”.

In its piece about Telegraph Media having been sentenced the website of Stoyana Georgieva also gloats that “the decision of the Sofia City Court may be appealed before the Supreme Court of Cassation”. This remark is sarcastic, seeing as everyone and their grandmother knows who heads the SCC – the all-powerful Lozan Panov, the plaintiff’s husband.

In this case, too, crowing is a bit premature and smacks of something that will backfire against Mediapool, Dnevnik and all the websites and publications, obscure or otherwise, of the “good oligarchs”. You see, sentencing Telegraph Media for essentially telling the truth destroys the oligarchy’s main fake talking point – that lawmaker and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski “has the courts under his thumb”.

Lozan Panov is the one in control of the courts in his legal capacity as head of the court of highest instance – the SCC. The oligarchic gentlemen who own the fake news websites know this very well. After all, their love for Panov is strictly professional – Ivo Prokopiev, Tsvetan Vassilev and their whole gang are in serious trouble with the law. Sooner or later, they are bound to knocking on Lozan Panov’s door for a favour.

As for the fact that we call Mrs Panova “the Black Swan”, she has only Hristo Ivanov to blame for it. Once again, it was he who dubbed her that during the infamous secret meeting that led to the ARGOgate scandal. The incident revealed that the puppeteers behind the avalanche of fake news have behind-the-scenes political aspirations too.

We are also not apologising for calling oligarchs like the abovementioned Prokopiev and Vassilev what they really are – oligarchs.

We are now living in times when it is apparently possible to be sentenced for telling the truth. Yet, all the fake news soaked in propaganda and hypocritical preaching of morals remains without legal consequences. However, this episode will not intimidates us or deter us from continuing our long-time fight against fake news. We will keep telling the truth because we owe it to our readers.

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