Picture of the day
Staff from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined a large crowd outside the Greek Embassy in Brussels on Friday morning, 14 June, for a Solidarity Protest condemning the closure of Greek public broadcaster ERT, supporting the staff who were sacked, and calling for the Greek government to reverse its decision and put the broadcaster back on air.
02 February 2010
Bulgaria: WAZ and IFJ Demand Protection and Justice for Award Winning Journalist
The International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ) and the German WAZ Media Group have called on the Bulgarian authorities
to provide protection for an award-winning reporter who faces intimidation and
threats of violence after a Court has started to hear a case brought as a
result of her revelations of crime and corruption.
Bulgarian journalist Lidiya Pavlova was honoured last year for her reports on mafia-like criminality and corruption in the small Bulgarian town of Dupnitsa. In November she received the "WAZ-IFJ Prize for Courage in Journalism 2009" for work in which she exposed the "Galev brothers", so-called businessmen who develop their private interests through political corruption and violence.
But over the last months she and her family have been threatened or attacked in the run up to the trial that followed her reports on the "Galevi" case. On 1 January 2010, Pavlova's son was attacked and severely beaten by an unknown man and on 22 January 2010 somebody slashed the tires and scratched her car. Last year already the rear window of her car was smashed and a bullet was found in the car. On 29 January, as the Court case opened, Ms Pavlova was verbally abused and threatened by supporters of the Galevs inside the Court.
The IFJ and WAZ Media Group say the authorities must act quickly to end the harassment and bring those responsible to justice. "Action must be firm and immediate. When a journalist of exemplary courage is threatened and harassed and family members are physically assaulted, she needs not only the support of the profession, but also solid guarantees of safety and against impunity," say the IFJ and WAZ Media Group in a joint statement. "We support a letter sent to Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko Borisov and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov by SEEMO, the South East Europe Media Organisation, calling for the government's attention to the case."
Pavlova works for the Bulgarian regional newspaper "Struma" and was aware of the risks she was taking in exposing the activities of the criminal underworld in the region. She has been working as a reporter and a correspondent for various Bulgarian newspapers for over 15 years. In her 12 years reporting for "Struma", she has had a special focus on the region Kjustendil in south west Bulgaria.
Her revelations made rampant crime, violence and political corruption in Dupnitsa a national scandal. She was the first winner of the "WAZ-IFJ Prize for Courage in Journalism" awarded to the work of print and online journalists in countries in west, middle and south east Europe where the WAZ Media Group is active, including Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia.
For more information contact WAZ at +49 201 8 04 88 60 or IFJ at +32 2 235 2215
The WAZ Media Group, based in Essen, is one of the largest European media groups. 28 daily and 18 weekly newspapers, 177 special-interest and trade magazines, 102 advertising papers and 400 customer magazines belong to the group. In Germany, the group publishes nine daily newspapers in North Rhine Westphalia, Thuringia and Lower Saxony. The four NRW titles ‘Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung' (WAZ), ‘Westfälische Rundschau' (WR), ‘Neue Ruhr / Neue Rhein Zeitung' (NRZ) and ‘Westfalenpost' (WP) have a circulation of nearly 1 million. The advertising papers of WVW/ORA are market leaders in Germany and Europe and have a weekly circulation of more than 5 million in NRW alone. The WAZ Media Group, which has 17.000 employees, has majority holdings in eleven local radio broadcasting companies in North Rhine Westphalia and runs the largest regional Internet portal, DerWesten.de, in Germany. In the TV market, the WAZ Media Group has a holding in the German NRW.TV and the Albanian TV-Station ‘Vizion+'. In the magazine sector, the WAZ Group owns, among others, the Munichbased publishing house ‘Gong Verlag' (‘Gong', ‘TV direkt'), the newspaper publishing house ‘Westdeutscher Zeitschriften-Verlag' (‘Neue Welt', ‘Frau im Spiegel') and numerous special interest magazines. Outside of Germany, the WAZ Media Group is active in the Austrian newspaper market (‘Kronen Zeitung', ‘Kurier'), and in Albania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Russia and in Serbia. The group also owns 15 printing works in Germany and abroad
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is the world's largest organisation of journalists. First established in 1926, today the Federation represents around 600.000 members in more than 100 countries. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), is the regional organisation of the IFJ in Europe and it ist the largest organisation of journalists on the continent, representing about 260.000 journalists in over thirty countries. The IFJ and EFJ promote international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent organisations of journalists; foster trade unions to maintain or create environments in which quality media, ethical and independant journalism can be, become or return to be a reality.