Publication Date: June 2014
Research and Editorial Team: Professor Orlin Spassov, Media Democracy Foundation
Bulgaria - Media Pluralism Monitor 2014

MPM 2014 divides the risks for media pluralism into three categories, encompassing respectively legal, economic and socio-political aspects.

In Bulgaria, significant risks to media pluralism are detected in the economic realm. In particular, "high risk" has been identified in the domains of Media ownership concentration, Media audience and readership concentration and Minority and community media.

With regard to the concentration of media ownership, the report notes that the top 4 major owners in the television sector have an aggregated market share of 93.35%. The top 4 major owners of daily newspapers have an aggregated market share of 79.7%. The Top 4 major Internet Service Providers have an estimated market share that is above 50%. Because of the deficit in transparency of media ownership, a precise evaluation of the market shares is hardly feasible. Data on the political affiliations of media owners are generally insufficient. Lack of transparency in State advertising in the press is also noted.

Audience and readership media concentration is also very high. In television, the Top 4 major owners have an audience share that is above 70%. An aggregated audience share of the Top 4 major owners in the radio sector is 83.16%.

Insufficient development of Minority and community media represent another high-risk factor highlighted in the MPM 2014 for Bulgaria. There is no television or radio channel that is dedicated to ethnic, linguistic or national minorities. Existing minority newspapers are very few and far smaller than the proportional size of the minority population.

Finally, in the realm of socio-political indicators, two alternative Codes of Ethics coexist in Bulgaria. As a result, the ethical standards are split according to the interests of different media groups. In practice, professional and trade union protection of journalists is very ineffective.

Tags: Bulgaria Media_pluralism Media_ownership Minority_media Self-regulation Transparency_of_media_ownership Concentration_of_Media_Ownership