Union of Bulgarian Journalists becomes source of fake news

The organisation, which has next to no representation in the guild, slanders Peevski in service of the oligarchy

The half-legal Union of Bulgarian Journalists has turned into a source of fake news in service of the oligarchy. The once reputable organisation, now full of pensioners and having next to no representation in the guild, issued a statement regarding the media transparency bill introduced to parliament by our publisher MP Delyan Peevski and his fellow Movement for Rights and Freedoms members Yordan Tsonev, Velislava Krasteva and Hamid Hamid.

The statement is riddled with unfounded and extreme claims, in the mode of the communist propaganda, during which period most of its authors actually did their journalistic work.

“This is a pointless bill as it does not reflect the role of the government in the distribution of public and EU funds to the media outlets it controls, it continues to hide their non-market funding through banks, and does not illuminate the ruling parties’ interference in the advertising market and the distribution of the press.” The point about the “non-market funding through banks” might have been valid during the totalitarian regime but in the environment of a market economy this mechanism is simply a basic business model in every sector of the economy. The presence of this talking point in the statement is the clearest sign that it was crafted in service of the Fake News Factory funded by the oligarchy. And the explanation is that this thesis was first fashioned by Capital and Dnevnik, owned by the media manipulations machine’s ring leader Ivo Prokopiev, and it has been repeated on loop as the only possible criticism against the bill.

“We are outraged at the insolence of the proponents and the indifference demonstrated by the lawmakers who are turning a blind eye to the fact that the bill is being push forward despite the obvious conflict of interest favouring Delyan Peevski,” the Union members write, without even realising that they are paying a compliment to our publisher by saying that transparency in media ownership and financing is solely to his benefit. Their words amount to an admission that Peevski has nothing to hide with regard to the media outlets he owns.

The Union’s statement, which regurgitates the oligarchy’s talking points, was unsurprisingly published and promoted by the members of the Fake News Factory. There is no mention of the fact that the authors of the amendments announced earlier that they are preparing additional changes to be tabled between the bill’s first and second reading, further specifying the new rules. The suggestions made by Peevski, Tsonev, Krasteva and Hamid were introduced to the Parliamentary Committee on Culture on 10 July and published on the website of the National Assembly. The proponents note in their motives “their desire to help achieve maximum transparency on all the facts concerning the ownership and financing of media outlets in Bulgaria, including through disclosure of significant circumstances about the real owners of media service provides.” To that end, the scope of the type of revenues to be disclosed by media service providers laid out in article 7, paragraph 2 is being expanded.

“All contracts and their value signed by the media service provider over the past year with state or municipal institutions, or companies with state or municipal backing, with political parties, as a result of public procurement procedures, signed advertising deals with individuals conducting operations subject to regulation, as well as contracts via which funding has been received under European Union funds’ programmes.” This is stipulated in the amendments proposed by Peevski and his MRF colleagues. The additional provisions of the bill expressly specify that “financing” is meant to mean “any receiving of money or property for free and/or any other type of receiving of money, regardless of the legal form applied, outside of revenues from the media service provider’s regular operations, as well as all loans and bank loans received.”

As regards ownership, the movers propose to declare in the media registry whether the given owner holds public office and has a clean criminal record. The important novelty is the requirement for declaration of the fact that a media owner and the person who controls it is one and the same figure. This information will let the consumers to have full picture of the editorial policy of a media outlet and reveal dependencies between certain media outlets that formally belong to different owners, the proponents underline.

“Roundsman” of the Gas Baron works under cover in UBJ

Svetoslav Terziev, currently acting as political commentator in the Sega newspaper of gas oligarch Sasho Donchev is using to his own benefit the director’s board of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists (UBJ). He is a member of this organisation and sits in its commissions for international affairs and professional standards. Before becoming one of the most faithful associates of Donchev, Terziev was an agent and secret officer of the 6th and 1st main directorates of the State Security Agency. He was recruited in 1981 and there is no information whether he is stricken from the register. He served under different aliases – Filip, Kamen and Kamenchev.

Now he is a principal agent of the Fake News Factory who carries through their acts of ideological sabotage abroad. Thanks to his strong connections in Paris and Brussels established during his service in the State Security and his cover of a university professor Terziev is skillfully manipulating foreign journalists and inflicting on them the talking points of the oligarch gang, i.e. of his masters. Naturally, members of this gang are criminal defendant Ognyan Donev and Ivo Prokopiev, who is being investigated.

UBJ leadership is illegitimate

The legal status of the UBJ managing body is illustrative enough of this organisation’s legitimacy. According to registration, currently the chair of its director’s board is Milen Valkov, who passed away at the end of 2011. Since then UBJ is represented by Snezhana Todorova, also known as agent Violeta of the 6th Main Directorate of the State Security Agency. She acts as chair but actually is registered in official documents as chief secretary. We will not draw analogies with the classical novel by Gogol for our respect to the memory of deceased Milen Valkov.






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