Sat, 04/09/2016 - 12:40

Despite the online proliferation of a variety of websites claiming to carry "news" about this country, media freedoms remain at an all-time low, at least post-1989. Significantly, major Bulgarian institutions do not seem to be wanting to make life easier for journalists. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.

bulgarian high clergy.jpg

The leadership of Sofia University, the oldest and most prestigious in Bulgaria, issued an order banning all faculty members and students from making any statement to the media without prior approval. This caused the usual outrage, so Sofia University was quick to add that the new rules concerned only pronouncements about the official policies of Alma mater.

At approximately the same time, the Holy Synod, the ruling body of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, issued a two-liner banning all clergymen from taking part in the Faith and Society show on Bulgarian National Television, produced by journalist Goran Blagoev. The main reason for the church's ire was Blagoev's analytical broadcast about the way it bestowed ecclesiastic honours on entrepreneurs of at least dubious standing. Usually, the Bulgarian Church rarely eschews media attention, and politicians of all shades and hues vie to be seen on TV kissing the hands of bearded clergymen at inaugurations of anything from highways to kindergartens and new offices. It has also made a name for itself for its staunch opposition, "on Biblical grounds," to gays and asylum-seekers, and of its dislike of Madonna songs. Concerning the Bulgarian National Television, the Church stopped short of threatening excommunication of Goran Blagoev.

Issue 114

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