What Policies for Free and Independent Media in Bulgaria?


Roundtable discussion

14 December,  9.00-14.00h

 Triaditza Hall II, Grand Hotel Sofia


9.00 – 9.15             Registration
9.15 – 10.30           Panel I: State Funding of the Media. Chair: Daniel Smilov
·         Funding of public broadcast media: by a state subsidy or by an independent fund? State funding for public interest programs of commercial broadcast media – a threat to media independence or an opportunity for enhancing their independence and pluralism?
·         Political parties and the media. A sizeable part of the state subsidy of the political parties is spent on political advertising. Is this de facto “buying off” of the media? Is there an alternative to the market-type access of political parties to the media?
·         Elections and the media. The need to clearly define “political advertising” for all types of media; introducing an effective regulation for impartial and pluralistic public media coverage of the election campaigns.
10.30 – 10.45      Coffee
10.45 – 12.00         Panel II: Policies for Enhancing Ethical Standards in the Journalistic Profession. Chair: Ruzha Smilova
·         The self-regulatory mechanisms: solution or part of the problem? What impedes the successful application of the Ethics Code of the Bulgarian media - possible solutions? 
·         Mechanisms for strengthening editorial independence, avoiding conflicts of interest and limiting self-censorship among journalists.
·         Mechanisms for preventing conflicts of interests (PR or journalism?)
12.00 – 12.30      Coffee
12.30 – 14.00   Panel III:  Concentration and Transparency of Media Ownership.  Chair: Georgy Ganev
·         Mechanisms for enhanced transparency in media ownership: ban on off-shore ownership of media companies, other instruments for guaranteeing transparency of media funding, ban on cross-funding of media by other businesses of the owners, etc.?
·         The Anti-Trust Commission and its role in controlling the concentration of media ownership – a need for media-specific thresholds of admissible concentration, of media-pluralism tests in allowing mergers, etc.?  
With the financial support of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission.
Within the framework of the international research project MEDIADEM.