AEJ-Bulgaria approaches the prosecutor’s office with a hate speech case

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The Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria (AEJ) calls for the Sofia regional prosecutor’s office to investigate a case of racist and hate speech in a national media.
We believe that with the text named “Scum”, published in the national daily “Standard” on 23.10.2012 and other following texts in the press and the online media, the author Kevork Kevorkyan has committed a crime under art. 162 (1) of the Bulgarian Penal Code, which bans any forms of instigation to discrimination, hate or violence  based on race, nationality or ethnicity by the means of the mass media.
We are convinced that the messages of the author are in breach of the Penal Code as they proclaim intolerance, discrimination and even physical violence based on ethnicity in a daily national media with big circulation. Giving as an example a current case that attracted the public attention, the author uses the ethnicity of the individuals involved as a base for proclaiming hate and confrontation among the Bulgarian citizens of different ethnic origin. We want to stress that the individuals against whom the articles are directly addressed are three 17-year-old school students from Roma origin, who were involved in a scandal after publishing online controversial pictures of themselves with three of Bulgaria’s  mostly honoured national heroes.  These are just some citations from the texts that we consider as deeply concerning:
  • “For me it already beyond any doubts that those animals want all of us to feel like scum, like people who don’t appreciate their history’’
  • “Me must consider those vandals our personal enemies”
  • “Even now, when I am saying all this, I feel humiliated by those idiots, those half-humans.”
  • These are not some gypsies from the slums – these are well-dressed young people who are very well taught against what or whom they want to strike.
We are urging the Prosecutor’s office to investigate the facts in accordance with the authority it has under the Constitution and the legislation of the Republic of Bulgaria and to determine the responsibility both of the author of the publications and the editors and publishers who gave their agreement for their broad dissemination in the mass media.