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IRIS 2012-6:1/11


Judgment on the Show "The Price of Truth"

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Rayna Nikolova

New Bulgarian University

On 27 February 2012 the Administrative Court in Sofia confirmed penal decree No. 63/17.11.2009 issued by the chairperson of the Council for Electronic Media (CEM). The penal decree imposed a penalty in the amount of BGN 8,000 on the private national television Nova Broadcasting Group. The reason for the penalty was a violation of good morals in "The Price of Truth" which was broadcast on 16 September 2009 on the channel Nova TV. The anchorman of the show had posed questions to the female contestant in the presence of her 16-year old son about her relationship with a 19-year old man, including questions about having sex without condoms and about abortions she had had.

Representatives of the media concerned claimed that the show "The Price of Truth" was one of the most attractive television formats where personal questions have been asked, always aiming that the answers should correspond with the truth. The media referred in its appeal to the opinion that showing the whole truth may not prejudice good morality.

The thesis of the Nova Broadcasting Group was dismissed by the second, the final court. The court shared the arguments of the first-instance District Court in Sofia, which had held that, according to the interpretation of the constitutional provision on freedom of expression (Art. 39, para. 2) in its Decision No 7/1996, the Constitutional Court allows some intervention and restrictions in order to protect morality. The Court considered the broadcast frames as publicly unacceptable and inconsistent with generally accepted standards of propriety.

  Decision of the Administrative Court in Sofia of 27 February 2012