Reporters Without Borders against Delyan Peesvki and the nationMonitor News Agency , Sofia
When you have been dealing in lies for years, there is no way you wake up one day and start telling the truth. The latest example of this basic principle is the infamous ranking compiled by the international NGO so reliant on grants Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The organisation is best known in Bulgaria for regularly appearing at gatherings of indicted oligarchs and fiercely defending those people’s interests. Freedom of speech, you say? They do not acknowledge such a phenomenon. To allow room for freedom of speech, you first have to be honest, and the RSF guys do not operate like that. It is just that facts are not useful to them.
According to the RSF, which has long discredited itself, Bulgaria is locked into the far-from-prestigious 111th spot on its World Press Freedom Index. The criteria behind making this ranking are murky, but it is obvious that the RSF likes the hidden symbolism of the three ones, only visible to itself – it is pretty easy to remember. The publications in Ivo Prokopiev’s so-called Capital group and those of his cronies like to crow about this made-up ranking and cite the fact that Bulgaria is in the vicinity of African countries with exotic names and blood-thirsty dictatorships.
What cynicism! The dozens of media outlets controlled by Prokopiev’s mainstream machine are howling in triumph when, in fact, they are the ones spreading fake news and killing real journalism. Thanks to talking points created by the oligarch leading them. Websites, print media and TV networks are in the oligarchy’s pocket all the while pretending to promote freedom of speech.
We, in Telegraph Media, are not among those singing in the fake news chorus, which makes us inconvenient. We are also disliked because for years we have been telling the truth about Reporters Without Borders – a pseudo-professional organisation relying on shady funding that has never actually defended the interests of the guild, but has definitely been protecting the interests of the media boss Ivo Prokopiev. The RSF has not said a word about Prokopiev’s admission that he controls “the mainstream”, i.e. all the talking points, the news feeds, most of the major media outlets.
Here is the place where fake news, which is Prokopiev’s speciality, comes into the picture. There is no mention of this fact in the RSF reports. As there is no mention of the fact that people hired by Prokopiev denied representatives of national media access to the presentation of the so-called White Paper on Media Freedom.
Yes, this is the state of affairs, because for years now this organisation has been operating as Prokopiev’s media battering ram which he is using to square accounts with his adversaries as he can do it – ruthlessly and without scruples. The so-called Reporters are repeating like parrots how the publisher of Telegraph Media Delyan Peevski allegedly controls all of Bulgaria’s printed media, impute to him control over TV channels and what not.
They also reproduced the lie spread by the Capital circle that Peevski has laid hands on 80% of the media distribution market in Bulgaria. In fact, Peevski controls 0%, dear Reporters. And it has been so all the time. Despite the fact that you are trying to push through this lie to the society. We even know who concocted this myth – some years ago the right-hand man of Prokopiev, Teodor Zahov admitted in Brussels that there is no evidence to confirm this lie but it must be reiterated until someone believes it.
As for the reporters themselves they have to be aware about something else – after their last-year meeting with PM Boyko Borissov a decision was taken according to which the printed editions in Bulgaria will be distributed by the state only, i.e. by the Bulgarian Posts. And so the Bulgarian Posts distribute all newspapers in Bulgaria including those of Telegraph Media. It has come as a surprise to us, dear reporters, that now you so conveniently forgot about this news after you had spread it yourselves.
However, shillyshallying is among the special skills of this NGO. We, of the Telegraph Media know it only too well after we have been trying to get in touch with the Reporters for years. We were looking for them, wrote letters and even went to their headquarters in Paris, but to no avail. We have never received any answers to our main questions: who makes this rating, how they check the “facts” quoted in it, why does it look more like currying favour to a group of the indicted oligarchs than like an analysis of the media environment in Bulgaria?
So, as long as they are keeping silent we will keep on talking because this is the only way not to allow a handful of the behind-the-scenes actors to muffle the truth and help them stay afloat.
Telegraph Media are not financed either by the state or by foreign grants, our work is based on fair market principles. In contrast with the grant-dependent media outlets of the Capital circle. That is why Delyan Peevski and his media outlets are referred to as “black sheep”. They simply do not fit into the shady schemes of the oligarchy. The Reporters without Borders for years now have been working in full synchrony with oligarch Ivo Prokopiev. He has laid his hands even on the Bulgarian desk of the otherwise authoritative Radio Deutsche Welle so what can be expected of some “thirsty and hungry” Bulgarian “reporters”? This same pseudo-journalistic organization is funded in a very ambiguous way. If you ask them, they receive money from selling T-shirts and photo albums. Are you serious? Photo albums and T-shirts? What an artistic way to cover up the shady funding and the faces of those who order the music and pay for it.
The so-called “reports” of the Reporters without Borders are written by odd ten people and this is also can be easily checked. Of them, one-third have something to do with journalism. Especially with the obedient “journalistic guild” of Prokopiev & Co. This is the reason why Prokopiev and the oligarchy are never mentioned in their reports.
These same reporters had no qualms about profaning the memory of journalist Victoria Marinova from Ruse who was murdered by a rapist. They cynically made use of her name in their reports. But these people do not seek truth. Their truth is written down in the talking point emailed to them by oligarch Ivo Prokopiev – to discredit Delyan Peevski and Telegraph Media. If we are seen as “inconvenient” it means that we have done our job well. And Prokopiev’s “battering rams without borders” have to wait for further instructions.