Since the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the world, freedom of the press everywhere suffered greatly. According to RSF (Reporters Without Borders), Bulgaria currently occupies the 112th spot on their index, where they have analyzed a total of 180 countries. This means that Bulgaria is the worst performing country in the EU, and the second worst on the Balkans, behind Turkey, which currently holds the 153rd spot.
Although Bulgaria has dropped from being in the 111th spot to beings in the 112th one, this isn’t an all-time low, as in 2016 it was the 113th. This fact is very disheartening, as in 2002 Bulgaria was ranked as 34th.
Thing is, although it is corrupt to a large extent, Bulgaria’s government isn’t authoritarian. There are many different factors that contribute to the issue. The primary contributors are that most large-scale media sources are owned by specific people with political affiliations or political parties, which is keeping up with the tradition put in place by the Bulgarian Communist Party. Therefore, there is a significant amount of pressure for journalists to publish specific things, and to not mention other things, otherwise they risk a reduced number of ads, which subsequently would lead to a significant loss of money.
However, there have been examples of journalists disappearing or being murdered for investigating and reporting on specific stories, which some individuals have preferred to stay hidden from public view.
If we want things in Bulgaria to change and to improve, it is of paramount importance to ensure full freedom of speech and of the press. Even if we disagree with specific viewpoints of certain journalists and media sources, we should still fight for their freedom of expression. Because their freedom is our freedom.