2011-03-28 Bulgaria - Mafia Lives Here*

Two weeks after the publishing of the full, unedited version of a diplomatic cable exposing the total invasion of Bulgarian economics and politics by the organized crime, the topic seems to be closed for Bulgarian media.

Bulgaria is known to have one of the most censored media in the European Union. In the last press freedom index of Reporters without Borders, the country shares the 70th ranking with Benin, Kenya and Greece.

One of the reasons for such low freedom of speech standards is shady media ownership. As the US ambassador reports in the cable, figures connected to organized crime own, directly or indirectly, the country’s mainstream printed and electronic media. This results in censorship and self-censorship on topics about the ties between the Mafia and the politics.

The media reaction, after the cable on organized crime was published, went through the classic way of dealing with such scandalous information: 1. Ignore it 2. Ridicule it 3. Fight it... then return to number 1.

1. Ignore it: The initial publication of the unedited cable on the Bivol independent investigative journalism web site was only reprinted in few independent blogs and web sites, most of them edited from abroad: (Ivo Indzhev, Eurochicago, Kafene). Only one big Bulgarian newspaper printed a link to the publication in a short article. The content of the cable, however, was greatly commented on and cited in online forums.

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