European Federation of Journalists

Police in Bulgaria attacking TV 7 to prevent broadcasting

Today (29/04/2015), police forces in Bulgaria entered to the building of private television channel TV7 in order to impound the television’s property and get off the TV equipment preventing it from broadcasting. Bulgarian citizens were alerted by the increasing number of police forces out of the building.

According to the EFJ affiliate in Bulgaria, SBJ or the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, TV staff and journalists are resisting and refused to allow the police to enter the TV headquarter without seeing any judicial order. They have also requested to talk with Kristina Dimitrova, the head of the Bulgarian police called Bailiff. According to the SBJ, this police action is a blatant violation of press freedom and the Bulgarian national law.

TV staff and journalists quickly managed to secure an impressive support from local citizens and have organized a human chain outside the building in an attempt to prevent the authorities from entering the building and seizing the equipment.

At the moment, the reasons for the police interventions are still not very clear but some sources are mentioning financial problems. In a statement today, the representative of the Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents said “the action against TV 7 was being taken because the station did not comply with a request to hand over the television’s equipment borrowed through a loan taken from Corporate Commercial Bank.” In the meantime, Sofia City Council did not allow the confiscation as the TV 7 is a television channel with a national coverage.

The European Federation of Journalists is worried for the safety conditions of the journalists and media workers at the station and calls on the Bulgarian authorities to avoid intimidations against journalists and respect the rule of law and press freedom principles.