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Bulgaria: Appointment Of Media Chiefs Ruled Illegal

Sofia, 6 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgaria's constitutional court today ruled that the recent appointments of bosses for state radio and television were illegal.

The appointments were made by parliament on July 10, shortly after general elections brought the anti-communist Union of Democratic Forces to power. The legislature voted Stephen Dimitrov as head of Bulgarian National Television and Liliana Popova as the chief of national radio. The move replaced directors who had been appointed by the Socialist Party majority in the previous parliament.

But the constitutional court today agreed with a complaint from Socialist deputies that the heads of state media must, under existing law, be appointed by a media council -- not the parliament.

A new media council has not been appointed since the elections. RFE/RL's correspondent in Sofia says UDF parliamentarians are now busy drafting amendments to the media law. In the meantime, our correspondent says there remains an unprecedented legal vacuum regarding the management of the two most important media in the country.