The price of media dependency: the media, banks and offshore financing


At 17:30 CET on Tuesday the 21st of June 2016, The Red House hosted a discussion looking at the pitfalls of untransparent media ownership and secret dependencies

You can access a full-length, Bulgarian-language recording of the debate here and English-language video highlights will be produced and uploaded to this page in the near future.

Theme / Speakers / Location / Related articles

About the debate:

One of the biggest challenges facing freedom of expression in the Bulgarian context is the unclear ownership of many media outlets. The financial dependencies of many Bulgarian media platforms and their conversion into tools for discrediting opponents has led to a sharp decline in the standard of the media scene. This has been reflected in various indices on the state of freedom of speech and press freedoms, with Bulgaria’s standing plummeting in the past decade.

Typically, the decline of the Bulgarian media scene has been characterised by the tabloidisation of the press, by a rise in infotainment broadcasting and in the transformation of many media outlets into quasi-political actors. Therefore, this debate looked both at whether the financial dependence of private media outlets risks transforming journalists into pawns in the hands of political and corporate monopolies and at how this whole environment encourages low quality journalism.

The panel’s analysts focussed on the traps which await media outlets in hidden financial dependencies. What has happened since the bankruptcy of the Corporate Commercial Bank? What are the implications of eradicating the difference between criticism and and blackmail and shaming? How do media monopolies come about and how are they maintained? How much difference is there between poor quality and sloppy journalism and censorship in terms of its impact upon the information in circulation? And, how are falling journalistic standards becoming a threat to media freedoms and the right of citizens to be informed?

If you missed the live stream, then you can access the full-length, Bulgarian-language recording of the debate here. English-language video highlights of the debate will also be produced and uploaded to this page in the near future.


Tihomir Bezlov is a leading expert in criminal research and a senior analyst at the Centre for the Study of Democracy.

Nikoleta Daskalova is a media studies researcher and the coordinator of the Media Monitoring Lab at the Media Democracy Foundation in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Nikolay Stajkov is a former journalist and the founder of and the protest network movement Protestna mrezha.

Nikolay Stoyanov is part of the KTB Files team and has been a financial journalist at Capital for the last ten years.

Event series:

This debate took place with the support of the European Union's Europe for Citizens Programme and is one debate of many taking place as part of an international series of debates on the same themes in cities around Europe, including Barcelona, Bratislava, Brussels, London, Sofia and Warsaw.



Related articles:

English / Bulgarian

In English:

Controversial Bulgarian MP Peevski quits businesses by Mariya Chereshev 

Global voices: the collapse of media freedom in Bulgaria by Nevena Borisova 

EU raises alarm on Bulgaria corruption by Andrew Rettman 

Why is the Bulgarian investigative journalism site Bivol being attacked by other media? from 

Foreign businesses denounce Bulgarian corruption from 

Bulgaria: Murky ownership, censorship and corruption in the media by Zoltan Sipos 

Investors file claim against Bulgaria’s KTB bank by Laurence Fletcher & Georgi Kantchev 

Accusations fly in Bulgaria’s murky bank run by Matthias Williams and Tsvetalia Tsolova 

What caused the run on two of Bulgaria’s largest banks? from The Economist 

Bulgaria’s central bank revokes licence of Corporate Commercial Bank from 

How the Bulgarian “bad apple” – Corporate Commercial Bank – built a media empire from 

Audit Office report proves “state corruption” in Bulgarian media from

In Bulgarian:

Същност И Цел – 

Протестна мрежа