Reporters under pressure: a relay event of asking questions about Peevski

Delyan Peevski

A curious flash mob has been taking place in the behind-the-scenes clique’s media outlets over the past few days and weeks. Not a day goes by without some prominent reporter of that clique asking prosecutor-general candidate Ivan Geshev a question from the comforts of their own computer. The query is always the same and is passed around like a baton. The participants in this sporting event ask Geshev about Peevski. Ask and do not particularly care for an answer.

The “contestants” are representatives of that group of “free” journalists who collect awards and incentives and are moved from one website to another when they reach a certain level in an imitation of career development. On Monday, the relay event was joined by a reporter who was first transplanted to Sega, the newspaper of natural gas tycoon Sasho Donchev, and then Mediapool, the website of one-time spokesperson for former PM Ivan Kostov – Stoyana Georgieva – before he reached the pinnacle of his career at the website of Radio Free Europe. Like all the others, he is asking the question “Why is Delyan Peevski missing from the CorpBank case?” The answer is simple – for the same reason that Prokopiev, Sasho Donchev, Ognyan Donev and Stoyana Georgieva are not there. Peevski is not part of the case because there are no grounds for it. If the aforementioned people would like things to be different, that is their own problem, even though they are throwing it like a hot potato at their journalists and washing their hands of it.

The Telegraph Media publisher is subjected to crossfire from people posing as independent journalists when in reality they are completely dependent on the will and whims of their employers. The latter are seemingly different – oligarch 1, oligarch 2, oligarchs 3. The media of the behind-the-scenes clique has recently been joined by the heavy artillery – the websites of Radio Free Europe and the Bulgarian desk of Deutsche Welle. And so all these “independent” figures demonstrated a worrisome concerted effort to establish a media monopoly and concentrate made-to-order journalism. The questions concerning lawmaker and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski are part of the war being waged on the media field. In one camp are the champions and defenders of freedom of speech and in the other – the pawns of the oligarchs, who are trying to rein in honest journalism in order to spread and assert fake news and analyses as professional standards.

Pardon, dear ladies and gentlemen of Reporters Without Borders, we know how terribly busy you are and therefore lacking the time to actually monitor the media environment in Bulgaria. We also know that you do not read anything outside of the reports of your anonymous associates. We would not want to waste your precious time, but you will not find what we have to tell you in any of the clumsily patched-up malicious reports, lampoons and feuilletons that you get. We are worried because there are journalists in Bulgaria who definitely work under pressure, thus discrediting our profession. That infamous 111th spot on the media freedom ranking, to which the behind-the-scenes clique’s outlets cling for dear life, is caused namely by their own state. You get it, right? In the surveys they take, the journalists from the Capital circle and their satellite websites share their own sense of insecurity and fear. Who forces them to write falsehoods and how? Help these journalists at risk realise that they are mere tools in the hands of their employers and spread the latter’s theses and talking points in their pieces, protect their interests. They are doing it by writing fake news and analyses.

There is this old children’s game of telephone. The players form a line and the first one comes up with a word, phrase or sentence that is then relayed down the line through whispers, no repeating. The last person says out loud what they have heard whispered in their ear. Often, the information that reaches the last player has nothing to do with the original. This is exactly what the aforementioned journalists are doing. It is no wonder that the questions regarding Peevski sound so dumb and inadequate. This is what happens when you play the telephone game.

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