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IRIS 2010-9:1/13

Bulgaria

Preparation of a New Bill for the Electronic Media

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Rayna Nikolova

New Bulgarian University

By order of the Bulgarian Prime Minister a Working Group has been established in the Ministry for Culture with the purpose of preparing a bill for the electronic media by 30 November 2010.

The Working Group includes media experts, representatives of the Council of Ministers, of the Council for Electronic Media and the Communications Regulation Commission, of the Bulgarian National Radio and the Bulgarian National Television, of the Ministry for Culture and the Ministry for Finance and the Independent Producers Association.

The Council of Ministers held a discussion about the future of the media regulation in Bulgaria, which took place on 29 and 30 July 2010.

The first day of the deliberations was devoted to the debate on the following issues: basic principles; the scope of the act; co-regulation; commercial messages; regulatory body; licensing and registration and media pluralism. The ideas about a possible merge of the two regulators in the media market at present - the Council for Electronic Media and the Communications Regulation Commission; the process of licensing and registration of media providers and how to secure the pluralism in the sector, were also under discussion.

On the second day of the deliberations on the amendments to the media law several further issues were - partly of an emotional nature - debated: The question whether the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio should merge; whether there is a necessity for a more accurate definition of “social media” and of more clear rules on its functioning; the statutes, structures and governance of the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio and how the State media will be financed. The ideas of a merge were opposed by both the representatives of the National Radio and of the National Television.