Head of Bulgarian audiovisual media regulator resigns following decision to license television channel



The head of the Electronic Media Council (CEM), the Bulgarian statutory body responsible for regulating audiovisual media, tendered his resignation on February 25, 2016, saying he would rather resign rather than be involved in the granting of license to a controversial new television channel.

Georgi Lozanov has headed the CEM since 2010 and was a member of its predecessor, the National Council for Radio and Television, from 1997 to 2001, and of the CEM from 2001 to 2003. Lozanov’s term as head of the CEM was due to expire in April 1. His resignation will be voted on by the council on March 1st.

Lozanov’s resignation follows the licensing of PIK Television on the board’s agenda.

PIK TV is linked to a controversial eponymous website. The proposed TV channel is owned by Nedyalko Nedlyalkov, who owns 95 percent of the stake, and PIK’s website editor, Ivailo Kruchunov, who owns the remaining five percent.

The PIK website, however, has long been seen as close to the controversial businessman, large-scale media owner, and Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Delyan Peevski. The website has a record of hostile coverage of the 2013/14 anti-government protesters who demanded the resignation of the then cabinet after Peevski’s abortive appointment as head of the State National Security Agency. Nedyalkov has officially denied that Peevski is behind PIK TV.

Lozanov said he was stepping down as director and member of the CEM because there was no legal reason to refuse PIK TV registration, so he would rather leave the board rather than put his signature on it. documents to legalize a medium with “the aggressive rhetoric of the eponymous online medium”.

Three of the other members of the CEM, Anna Hadjieva, Aniuta Assenova and Ivo Atanasov, voted in favor of the authorization of PIK TV on the grounds that the law did not allow them to refuse. The fifth board member, Maria Stoyanova, did not attend the February 25 meeting because she was abroad.

(Lozanov screenshot: BNT)




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