Bulgarian Public Radio’s Deleted Article: Censorship Attempt or Mysterious Technical Problem

by Екип на Биволъ

An article on the site of the public radio BNR (Bulgarian National Radio), dating from 2013, suddenly disappeared two weeks ago, after an influential Facebook user reminded of it. Bivol immediately sent to the BNR a request for information under the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) that must be replied to. According to the Director of the radio, Alexander Velev, there had been a “technical problem” and the article was restored.

The story with the headline “TIM controls 25% of CEZ Electro and 5% of CEZ Distribution” discusses Czech media, cites Bivol’s editor-in-chief Atanas Tchobanov, as well as a diplomatic cable by the former US Ambassador to Sofia James Pardew, in which TIM is called “the up-and-coming star of Bulgarian organized crime and the new leader in Bulgarian OC”.

On March 11, at the height of the scandal with the sale of the assets of CEZ Bulgaria to Inercom of Ginka Varbakova, the popular writer and author of collages, Ivan Chervenkov, published a link to this article in his personal Facebook profile. The link was accompanied by a sarcastic comment by Chervenkov that BNR needs to be censored for posting such story.

The information shared by Chervenkov had a rather modest success – to date, 56 people have liked it and 23 have shared it. But on the next day, March 12, TV political talk show host Vesselin Dremdzhiev found out that the article was no longer available on the BNR website.

“Strange things are happening. At first glance. A day after an old Prague correspondence about a BG stake in the ownership of #CEZ was shared on FB, the text disappeared from #BNR’s site. The public radio’s site…,” Dremdzhiev commented.

On March 14, Bivol sent an e-mail request under the APIA to the BNR, which was rejected at first because it had not been signed. Following a reminder of the law, the BNR examined the request after all.

In the answer, which was received before the end of the 14-day deadline, Alexander Velev claims that a check had been immediately carried out and the following had been established: “As of March 14, 2018, the article was inaccessible for technical reasons. Access was restored on March 15, 2018, after removing the technical obstacle.

The dear listeners and readers have no choice but to believe in the paranormal phenomena lurking in the BNR headquarters – the article remained unnoticed for five years and only when it became relevant, a technical glitch suddenly popped up and made it inaccessible.


Response to the APIA request by Bivol, asking why the article has disappeared from the BNR site


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