AEJ-Bulgaria is deeply concerned by the lawsuits led against its members

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АЕЖ-България

The Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria (AEJ-Bulgaria) is seriously concerned and fears that yet another attempt to intimidate journalists with court proceedings is on the way. A case was opened against our colleague and a member of the AEJ-Bulgaria, Marieta Dimitrova, owner of the website – www.blagoevgrad-news.com, for libel by the mayor of Blagoevgrad – Atanas Kambitov. Kambitov claims 100,000 levs in respect of non-pecuniary damages for her article from August 05th 2015 entitled “Mayor Kambitov – bankruptcy or elite” – a result of nearly three-month investigation, conducted by Dimitrova.
We would like to recall that there is another court case opened against a member of the AEJ-Bulgaria. The Chairman of the Financial Supervision Commission, Stoyan Mavrodiev, sues for defamation Rosen Bosev, journalist from “Capital”. He has filed a claim to the Sofia District Court asking for 20,000 levs in respect of non-pecuniary damages. Mavrodiev claims he feels “tense, disturbed” because of Bosev’s articles in “Capital” and his interviews in other media, dating to mid-January.
AEJ-Bulgaria observes with great concern an increasing trend in recent years for use of the defamation complaint by those in power as a form of pressure against journalists. This is evident from the data gathered in the last survey on freedom of speech in Bulgaria),* conducted by AEJ-Bulgaria.
At the same time, we express our confidence in the objectivity and impartiality of the Bulgarian justice system as we are convinced that it shall not allow to be used for restriction of freedom of speech and intimidation of journalists through financial sanctions.
AEJ-Bulgaria will continue to monitor the development of both of those cases and will respond to any suspected unlawful restriction of freedom of speech.