Press release 15 May, 2013: Concern about Freedom of the Media in Southeastern Europe

Leipzig, 15 May, 2013. The Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig welcomes the European Parliament's adoption of a resolution two days ago to monitor and analyse media concentration and government interference in the media in all European countries.

Freedom of expression is threatened by increasing media concentration, particularly in Southeastern Europe. The EU Progress Report for Romania of 30 January states that private media is routinely used as a tool by its owners. A 2012 report by the Romanian media initiative "ActiveWatch" warned about this emerging situation, stating that more and more Romanian press organs are being acquired by media moguls and that "the role of the media as a political weapon in the hands of its owners has become more visible than ever before."

In neighbouring Bulgaria as well, freedom of the press is under pressure, as the media with the broadest reach are now in the hands of just two big companies. Aside from the fact that this concentration tends to make it easier to manipulate the media, the precarious working conditions of Bulgarian journalists also give cause for concern with respect to media freedom. In a letter in autumn of 2012, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes called upon the President of Bulgaria "to undertake adequate measures so that you can guarantee to the Bulgarian citizens that they will be able to take advantage of the diverse and pluralistic media environment that they deserve."