Copy of part of the contract between the European Parliament and the Active Group company of Monica Yosifova, obtained by Bivol based on Regulation 1049/2001
The example of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and its internet trolls pushing in a “guerilla” manner the party line in forums and social networks has been copied almost one-to-one by the European Parliament. This emerges from information from Brussels of the British Telegraph, published in February 2013.
The correspondent of the British media Bruno Waterfield quots a confidential document, titled “Political Guidelines for the Institutional Information and Communication Campaign.”
It contains the cost of a blitz “propaganda” campaign before the European elections in the summer of 2014. Nearly 2 million euros have been set aside for analysis and intervention in online discussions in real time, while specially trained employees “must have the capacity to react quickly, in a targeted and relevant manner, to join in and influence the conversation, for example, by providing facts and figures to deconstructing myths.”
The training of trolls under this program began in February-March 2013, the Telegraph claims.
This approach has not been accepted warmly by all. Paul Nuttall, British UKIP’s deputy leader, has attacked the proposal, noting that “spending over a million pounds for EU public servants to become Twitter trolls in office hours is wasteful and truly ridiculous.”
Monica, the “Talking Points” and the EU Propaganda
The propaganda strategy of the European Parliament to include internet trolls and formulate “talking points” cannot be called innovative and original. Leaked internal communication of BSP in Balkanleaks showed that similar units of trolls, armed with “facts and arguments to destroy myths” have been organized by the Bulgarian Socialists for the parliamentary elections in 2013, but have acted earlier as well – the local and presidential elections in 2011.
Key player in BSP’s party propaganda is the PR specialist Monica Yosifova. She is the author of the policy documents of BSP (talking points) and has worked actively for the distortion of public perceptions by arranging rigged media appearances, show other documents from 2009, obtained through BSPLeaks.
In 2013, Monica Yosifova, already as wife of the leader of BSP and President of the Party of European Socialist, PES, Sergey Stanishev, has practiced these skills at European level and with European funding. The Active Group company, which is owned by the PES President’s wife, has received 60 000 euros under the same program of the European Parliament to promote European elections, revealed an earlier investigation of Bivol. 29 679.93 euros of this amount have been paid in May 2013, show documents received from the European Parliament after a request for information.
So far, this project has created a site http://razberiep.eu/, with the free software WordPress, while its graphics are worth 60 US dollars. A Facebook page has been produced and a drawing competition for children has been held as well.
In accordance with the strategy of the European Parliament for a “blitz propaganda campaign,” just before the European elections, Active Group should hold an event-reenactment of the work of the European Parliament, (“EP Live”).
The European Parliament: There is no conflict of interest. There is no public interest to know Active Group’s expenses
The Directorate General Communication firmly rejected suspicions of conflict of interest arising from the fact that Monica Yosifova is the wife of the Bulgarian President of PES, Sergey Stanishev, and PES will also participate in the propagated European elections.
The European Parliament also rejected a request to make public the financial annexes to the contract with Active group to find out how the rest of the money will be spent. The request was based on Regulation 1049/2001, which entitles every EU citizen to have access to any document produced by the European institutions.
In a letter received in Bivol’s editorial office just before the holidays the EP argued that “there is no overriding public interest” to publish this information, which “may affect the trade secret” of Active Group.
Bivol will appeal the decision of the European Parliament with the new data from BSPLeaks whereby Yosifova Monica emerges as the author of policy documents of BSP (talking points) and has worked actively to distort public perceptions by arranging rigged media appearances.
The fact is that currently her doubtful skills can be implemented with funds from the European taxpayer, and why not trough trolling in the Internet, as the very same EU propaganda strategy provides, as shown by the publication in Telegraph.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian