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IRIS 2012-9:1/11

Bulgaria

Appointment of a Member of the Council for Electronic Media from the Presidential Quota

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Rayna Nikolova

New Bulgarian University

On 4 June 2012, the President of the Republic of Bulgaria appointed Maria Stoyanova as a representative to the Council for Electronic Media (CEM). That appointment was the result of a newly adopted procedure, hitherto unspecified in the law.

On 29 March 2012, the Administration of the President initiated a procedure, by way of publishing a communication, for nomination of a member of the Council for Electronic Media from the presidential quota. All interested Non-Governmental Organisations and professional bodies were invited to submit their written applications by 6 April 2012. The intention was that the proposals would be subject to public consultation after 9 April 2012 and that all the nominees and media representatives should be invited to contribute to that consultation.

However, on 9 April 2012, instead of discussing the proposals, the communication was supplemented by an additional requirement: along with the documents required by law, candidates were asked to present a their individual conceptual visions on the future work of CEM (up to 8 pages). Until 23 April 2012, 12 nominations were received including 3 self-nominations, despite the fact that such direct nomination was explicitly excluded - which itself may be regarded as a discriminatory prohibition.

In its meetings of 2 and 3 May 2012, the Assessment Commission - which was approved by Decree № 171 of 25 April 2012 of the President of the Republic (not published in the "State Gazette") - listened to the conceptions of 11 candidates without any media presence. The criteria that formed the basis of whether short-listed candidates were admitted to public discussion, are of a special interest: “The presentation of a good vision of the activities, the problems in the current agenda of the CEM and an overall knowledge of the media environment, which the candidates showed during the interview conducted by the Commission, are among the reasons that [these] three candidates have reached the final phase of the procedure”.

On 11 May 2012, in the presence of media representatives, the three candidates attended a public hearing. After a brief presentation of their viewpoints, they answered questions made by the media. Based on this hearing, the President took his decision on the appointment of the new member of the CEM.