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IRIS 2019-1:1/10

Bulgaria

Disclosure of ownership and funding of media service providers

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Rayna Nikolova

New Bulgarian University

An amendment to the Law on the Compulsory Deposit of Printed and Other Works and the Announcement of the Distributors and Providers of Media Services was published in issue 94 of State Gazette (dated 13 November 2018). Such “distributors” and “providers” are (i) public and commercial providers of media services under the Radio and Television Act and (ii) online news service providers (electronic newspapers, magazines, news agencies and other electronic publications, excluding social networks - such as Facebook and Twitter - and personal blogs).

By 30 June each year, each provider must submit to the Ministry of Culture a declaration (i) identifying its actual owner and indicating whether that owner occupies a public position, (ii) specifying any funding received during the previous calendar year, its volume and other details (including the person who contributed the funding). Where the provider is a public company (within the meaning of the Public Offering of Securities Act or under national law) the mention of the institution under whose supervision the company operates shall be deemed to constitute information identifying the actual owner. When the person who actually controls the content of the media service in question and/or the editorial policy is different from the actual owner of the media service provider, that fact must be stated in the declaration.  

The declaration must indicate all contracts (and their value) concluded by the media service provider in the previous calendar year with state or local authorities or companies in whose capital there is state or municipal participation; this includes instances where such participation is the result of (i) public procurement, (ii) the involvement of political parties, (iii) advertising contracts with entities engaged in activities subject to regulation, or (iv) contracts that have received funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds or from other international financial institutions and donors. The declaration must be submitted electronically to the Ministry of Culture and the Registry Agency and must be announced in the relevant register. For non-observance of the law, the Minister of Culture shall impose a sanction of between BGN 10,000 and BGN 15,000. In the case of a repeated violation, the fine shall amount to between BGN 20,000 and BGN 30,000.

References
Законът за задължителното депозиране на печатни и други произведения и за обявяване на разпространителите и доставчиците на медийни услуги BG
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19333
 
  Law on the Compulsory Deposit of Printed and Other Works and the Announcement of the Distributors and Providers of Media services