Sofia: journalist running for top political post
Local elections will take place in Bulgaria at the end of October. In a surprise move, the Gerb party led by former prime minister Boyko Borisov has nominated Anton Hekimyan, director of News and Current Affairs at TV station bTV, as its mayoral candidate for the capital Sofia. This will tarnish the reputation of journalism in the country, the Bulgarian press fears.
Dnevnik points to an unhealthy relationship between the politically powerful and the media:
“A political position as powerful as that of a candidate for the post of Mayor of Sofia cannot be entrusted to a casual acquaintance, let alone an independent journalist. It requires a high degree of party loyalty that must be earned over years. Both Borisov and Hekimyan have clearly earned this closeness over the years. ... Anton Hekimyan’s move from bTV news to the Gerb headquarters, ironically located in the same building, highlights the continuing blurring of the lines between the media and the powers that be in Bulgaria. When that boundary is blurred, only power remains. The media fall by the wayside.”
Destroying trust in the media
Borisov has hammered another nail into the coffin of Bulgarian journalism, complains Deutsche Welle’s Bulgarian service:
“We will all pay the price. First our colleagues at the TV station bTV, then the guild, and finally the whole of society. ... Borisov wants to remind us that he still holds the reins. That he is the one to whom the head of Bulgaria’s biggest newsroom can turn for help when his days in the media are numbered. ... Hekimyan’s nomination shows that journalists cannot be trusted, because who knows which politician they are negotiating with for a post?”