27 Aug 2019 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 14 May 2018 n° 41/2018 Bulgaria

Bulgaria: Investigative journalist attacked

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner Index AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ RSF
Partner Index AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ RSF
On 10 May 2018, investigative journalist Hristo Geshov was attacked and assaulted outside his home in the town of Cherven Bryag in northwestern Bulgaria, desant.net reports.

“I attribute this attack entirely to my investigative reporting and to the warnings I sent to the authorities about the management of finances by the Cherven Bryag municipal government,” Geshov wrote in a Facebook post a few hours after being punched in the stomach and back by an unidentified assailant. “Despite the pain and many bruises, I am sure that I will not abandon my work, and the attack against me is a sign that I am right,” he added.

Geshov writes for the regional investigative reporting website Za Istinata, works with the journalistic online platform “About the Truth” and hosts a programme called “On Target” that is available on YouTube.

He began being harassed after a series of articles about municipal government irregularities in Cherven Bryag in which he claimed, inter alia, that three municipal councillors were using European Union funds to renovate their homes.

Reporters Without Borders condemns the attack. “This attack is indicative of the degree to which investigative reporters are now being targeted by groups that want to silence them and impose terror,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk. “We hail the swift reaction of the police and medical services, but the Bulgarian authorities must also provide physical protection to journalists who, like Hristo Geshov, are the targets of threats of this kind.”
Updates
05 Jun 2019
On 14 May 2019, according to the statement of Hristo Geshov, the journalist was abducted by three unidentified individuals, who drove him in their car all night, until his report on the illegal water supply was removed from the Zov News website. On 14 May 2019, Zov News and Bivol announced that Geshov had disappeared. Maria Dimitrova, an editor-in-chief of Zov News said that Geshov's mother and sister had contacted her earlier that day saying they were unable to establish contact with the reporter. Dimitrova stated that she received a phone call early on 15 May from a man who did not identify himself, who asked that she remove the article and the video of Geshov's investigation on the alleged illegal water supply and sewage system in exchange for Geshov's release. On 15 May 2019 she removed the article from Zov News and the video from YouTube. Geshov has testified about the incident to the Bulgarian national police. CPJ could not independently verify the journalist's account of his abduction.
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