The media and the police – taking the side of the victim or taking the side of the criminal?

The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria strongly opposes the way some Bulgarian media reported on the brutal murder of Jana Krasteva, a 28-year-old  woman, who was found dead in a park in Sofia, Bulgaria on July 10. We find extremely disappointing the attempt of the press service of the Ministry of Interior to hide this crime from the Bulgarian society, probably in order not to cast a gloom over the information for the successful operations of the police against organised crime.
At the same time, we are equally worried about the attempts of several media to downplay this terrible crime, which happened in the centre of Sofia. Moreover, there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again.
We are anxious to find out that the methods, used for manipulation of the public opinion, are being used not for the first time. On the contrary, they are turning into kind of a patent of the Ministry of Interior and certain media.
The scenario is trivial – the crime victims are been marginalised, which usually happens by mentioning in the information about the crime that the victim has a criminal background  or that he/she is from Roma or other minority origin. We stress that a person, having a criminal background, is not a legal term. From a legal perspective, we are allowed to use the terms convicted or non-convicted persons, disregarding of them having criminal or non-criminal background. In addition, the ethnical origin of the people concerned is not to be mentioned, except from the cases of crimes based on race or ethnicity.
In Jana Krasteva’s case, there was no possible way of presenting the victim as a former criminal or as member of certain minority. Therefore, there was an attempt of marginalising her by disclosing compromising moments of her biography. The ”reliable” sources used by the media were the confessions of anonymous neighbours of the victim.
Dear colleagues,
AEJ-Bulgaria reminds you that every life is important, and every murder – unforgivable! Every criminal must be caught and sentenced!
It does not matter whether the victim has criminal dossier, whether he/she belongs to a minority group, whether he/she is Bulgarian of foreigner – justice must be served!
The mission of each journalist, working in benefit of the society, is to demand from the authorities to find and punish the offender, and not to discredit the victim, thus becoming a moral party to the crime.
The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria
 For further infiormation contact:
Ivan Radev
+359889 38 86 19
[email protected]
Camelia Ivanova
[email protected]

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