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SOFIA (Bulgaria), April 25 (SeeNews) - Film making company Nu Image Bulgaria, part of US-based Nu Image Inc., has signed a preliminary contract for the acquisition of a 50% stake in Telegraf Media newspaper publisher with Sofia-based Intrust, a company wholly owned by member of parliament Delyan Peevski, local media reported on Wednesday.
The conclusion of the deal is subject to approval by the Commission for Protection of Competition, Focus news website reported.
Nu Image Bulgaria is establishing a new subsidiary which will acquire the shareholding interest in Telegraf Media, publisher of Telegraf, Monitor, Politika and Meridian Match newspapers, Focus said.
The news of the deal coincided with the release of the 2018 World Press Freedom Index report of the international non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders, RSF, which said that media freedom in Bulgaria is lower than in any other EU member state or country in Southeast Europe. The organisation described Peevski, who controls nearly 80% of print media distribution in Bulgaria, as "the most notorious embodiment of this aberrant state of affairs".
"The government’s allocation of EU funding to certain media outlets is conducted with a complete lack of transparency, in effect bribing them to go easy on the government in their reporting or refrain from covering certain problematic stories altogether," according to RSF.
The NGO also noted that media freedom in Bulgaria is lower than in any other EU member state or country in Southeast Europe due to widespread corruption and collusion between media, politicians, and oligarchs.