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The Independence of the Bulgarian Public Media Seriously Threatened: RSF

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounced the serious political pressure that led to the suspension of a Bulgarian radio journalist and the unprecedented interruption of the broadcaster’s signal for several hours on 13 September.

Silvia Velikova 

Known for her uncompromising interviews and pressing questions at the microphone of the Bulgarian national radio BNR where she has been employed for 26 years, the journalist Silvia Velikova was withdrawn the presentation of her show the next morning and without notice on 12 September latest. According to her, the link between her sanction and the controversial appointment, without public selection procedure of the future Prosecutor General of Bulgaria next month, is clear. 

But it was without counting on the support of the journalist’s colleagues who, the very next morning, were behind her, forcing the radio’s management to cancel all its programs for more than five hours. In the wake of this unprecedented protest movement, the journalist was informed that she would be able to return to the airing and its legal broadcast but “in pairs” in order to respect “pluralism of opinions”.

“This attempt to” gag “a journalist to protect the only candidate of the ruling party for the post of prosecutor, illustrates the lack of independence of the Bulgarian public broadcasting and the stranglehold of some political leaders on their editorial line , says Pauline Adès-Mével, Head of the European Union-Balkans area. As pressure on the country’s independent press grows, Ivan Geshev’s possible appointment as Bulgarian Attorney General on 24 October threatens the Bulgarian public prosecutor’s case against journalists . ” 

Although the management of the radio continued to mention “a technical incident” to justify the cut, Prime Minister Boyko Borrisov had to intervene publicly and demand that the journalist be reinstated. 

For its part, the director of the program at the origin of the sanction, was forced to resign. After investigation, the prosecutor’s office stated that “no link could be established” between the suspension of the BNR signal and the journalist’s deprivation of antenna. However, the editor-in-chief of radio Daniela Kusovska publicly testified to “very loud” pressure on radio director Svetoslav Kostov to remove the journalist and deprive her of the radio. 

The situation is so serious that the President of the Republic himself spoke this week about the crisis: “The suspension of national radio shows again the need to identify who governs the public media, and how. .. It is obvious that the state (Bulgarian ed) is governed from the phone of someone, not from the institutions, as is the normal European practice “commented the President of the Republic. 

Bulgaria, where judicial harassment of independent media has intensified in recent months, ranks 111th out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index in 2019. 

Copyright ©2016, Reporters Without Borders. Used with the permission of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), CS 90247 75083 Paris Cedex 02 https://rsf.org


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Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus: 
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes ,organizations or individual.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources  then it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on social media messages that the lockdown will last for more than 3 months. Check any related information only on Government Web Portals and social media platforms of various Government Agencies.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred 

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.












The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic information write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com

Read the COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

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