December 18 (SeeNews) - Freedom of both traditional and online media outlets in Bulgaria is limited to a certain extent due to unclear media ownership, partisan reporting and dependence of media on the state, a report issued by German foundation for liberal politics Friedrich Naumann Foundation shows.
"The biggest threat to pluralism is coming from the unclear media ownership, as well as from growing concentration of media ownership, with only few companies controlling majority of the media market. Thus, in order to be properly informed, citizens should seek for information from various sources," the Europe Edition of Freedom Barometer published by German foundation for liberal politics Friedrich Naumann Foundation reads.
The report is based on data covering the 12 month-period between July 2016 and June 2017.
According to the report, Bulgarian journalists practice self-censorship due to strong political and editorial pressure, as well as defamation charges which are brought against them.
"There is a strong dependence of media on the state, while the process of state advertising and subsidizing of media is often done in non-transparent ways. Cases of verbal and physical violence against journalists do occur," the foundation added.
The judiciary in Bulgaria, despite constitutional guarantees and EU-membership requirements for its independence from politics, is still implementing the most basic EU standards.
"Corruption and impunity in police and its inefficiency and/or deliberate neglect to protect citizens and companies from the organized crime remain a serious problem," the report added.
Private property rights are not firmly protected in Bulgaria. Although legal framework is mostly in line with other EU countries, adequate implementation is often lacking. Weak judiciary that could be under out of court influences during the decision making undermines the rule of law.
Freedom of international trade is generally upheld in Bulgaria, which implements the common EU trade policy, which is mostly liberal, with overall low tariffs.
Bulgarian regulatory framework is mostly business-friendly, but there are many problems in the field of regulation application which can in some cases be biased.
Government expenditures in Bulgaria are very moderate in comparison to other European countries.
The total score of 64.30 points which includes 10 subcategories places the country at 15th place after three other Southeastern European countries - Slovenia, Romania and Croatia. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro Serbia and Moldova placed between 16th and 25th place.