11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 11 Oct 2017 n° 116/2017 Bulgaria
Threats from Politicians towards Bulgarian TV Journalist Viktor Nikolaev
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Viktor Nikolaev, journalist at NOVA TV, was threatened by an MP for ruling party GERB, Anton Todorov, and Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Simeonov during live broadcast of his TV morning show, on 6 October 2017. Todorov and Simeonov threatened the journalist that he would lose his job if he continued to ask inconvenient questions about the purchase of fighter aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force. The threat immediately raised a wave of concern among journalists in Bulgaria. Both politicians consider this incident as misrepresentation of their words. However, the same day MP Todorov apologised in a Facebook post. He resigned from Parliament on 9 October. On the contrary, Simeonov considered the accusations as slander and asked Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgarian National TV and NOVA TV for an apology otherwise the case will be taken to court. According to him, the media organized a scandalous campaign against him. The Union of Bulgarian Journalists (UBJ) called on Simeonov to resign.
11 Jun 2019: To date, no lawsuit has been initiated by Mr Simeonov against the journalist. However, that threat was not publicly withdrawn and Mr Simeonov has made no public apology or acknowledgement that his outburst was considered to be intimidating and an abuse of his position as an elected politician.