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Bulgarian Lawmakers To Set Up Probe To Investigate Crisis At Public Radio

Bulgarian journalists protest in Sofia against the suspension of their colleague from BNR radio.

Bulgaria's parliament will set up a commission to investigate the crisis at Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) sparked by the suspension of a prominent journalist and accusations of management using threats and censorship against staff.

The commission was proposed by the opposition Socialist Party after BNR journalists on September 19 demanded the resignation of general director Svetoslav Kostov, whom they accused of censorship, during testimony before the Council for Electronic Media.

Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, who is also the leader of the ruling GERB party, has instructed lawmakers from his party to support the move.

The General Prosecutor’s office is investigating an unprecedented five-hour shutdown of the BNR on September 13, when all the transmitters where switched off between 6 a.m and 11 a.m.

The shutdown occurred after BNR management decided to suspend journalist Silvia Velikova, who is known for covering Bulgaria's corruption-prone judicial system.

Velikova was suspended on September 12 when BNR management said she had violated her contract by urging listeners while on air to join a protest over the appointment of Bulgaria's next chief prosecutor.

The move to suspend Velikova led to protests by her colleagues in front of the BNR building and to the shutdown of the broadcasts.

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    RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service

    RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service relaunched in 2019 after a 15-year absence, providing independent news and original analysis to help strengthen a media landscape weakened by the monopolization of ownership and corruption.