The closure of “Presa” and “Tema”- another alarming signal about the state of the Bulgarian media

The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria (AEJ – Bulgaria) wishes to express its solidarity with the journalists of“Presa” and “Tema”. The two media were closed on August 1, 2015.
The news about the closure of the two media causes a strong concern about the status of journalism in the country. Journalists from both media were informed that they will be losing their jobs witha two day notice, which is in sharp contrast with the principles of transparency and good governance in business. “Presa” and “Tema” closed operation just two weeks after another controversial event – their transfer from the previous owner “United Free Media” AD (UFM)to the “Integrated Road Systems” JSC, which, as the UFM, owes substantial sums to the bankrupt Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB).
What is even more disturbing is that a vast part of Bulgarian media operate in a financially unsustainable manner and, as “Presa” and “Tema”, are among the major debtors of CCB, as revealed after an investigation carried out by “Bulgarian Protest Network”. Besides UFM, who have a non-performing loan granted by a related to the CCB company amounting to 2.5 million lv., other beneficiaries of such schemes are GM Press (publisher of“Standard”, “Maritza”, “Struma”,“Haskovo Maritza” with a credit of 6.4 million euros and Pro News Bulgaria (owner of the newspapers“Trud”, “24 Hours” and “168 Hours”), who received a loan of 6.5 million euros.
The current practice media to be used for political aims while at the same timethey receive funding through a bank that was drainedbut where the government pumped huge money in,is against the society best interests. The recent victims are journalists who lost their jobs when the scheme fell apart. In this regard we express our outrage at the fact that the Bulgarian judicial system has not yet sought the responsibility for what happened to the CCB – abank that was also corrupting the entire media environment with the active involvement of politicians, who at the moment are still factors and apply new tools for influence.
We appeal to reades to  be critical to the media they choose to inform themselves from, and thus not to contribute to the promotion of unethical practices and journalism that serves political interests.

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