Media scandal in Sofia because of controversial video on Chechen war

From: MINELRES moderator <>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 18:23:09 +0200 (EET)
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Subject: Media scandal in Sofia because of controversial video on Chechen war

From: MINELRES moderator <>

Original sender: Pavel Antonov <>

Media scandal in Sofia because of controversial video on
Chechen war

A recent broadcast of human right atrocities in Chechnya caused
immense media scandal in Bulgaria. The scandal broke on Monday
evening, April 3, 2000, when the Bulgarian National  Television (BNT)
Channel 1 included in its main news an uncensored abstract of the tape
sent by Kremlin to the Council of Europe to illustrate the violence of
Checnians against Russians in the war. The material broadcast in the
prime time (8 p.m.) by BNT showed what was described as a Checnian
fighter cutting off the head of a living Russian soldier. The
broadcast of the video material was followed by a wave of phone calls
of terrified people to BNT, the National radio and all the newspapers.
Viewers of all ages were complaining that the picture shown without
any warning was so violent that it caused them and their children
psychological trauma. The incident raised many comments in media on
the professional standards in covering violence. The National Council
for Radio and Television member Dr. Svetla Bojilova told the Bulgarian
National Radio on Tuesday that the BNT needs to be fined for violating
media ethics. The Council will have special discussions on the
incident starting from Friday, April 7, 2000. Many voices were raised
pleading for the resignation of BNT general director Liliana Popova.
The head of Channel One Konstantin Kissimov resigned officialy from
his post on the next day after the scandalous news broadcast. The news
anchor who announced the news Milena Milotinova, a prominent news
presenter and reporter of BNT, explained that she was shocked by the
report as well, and that she only saw its contents on air. According
to the internal rules of procedure at BNT the news presenter is the
formal head of the news team. This rules may need to be changed as a
result of this case, said BNT Director General Liliana Popova today.
The Centre for Independent Journalism in Sofia will launch a workshop
on media professional standards and journalism ethics next week.

Pavel P Antonov
Editor in Chief
BlueLink Information Network
Morava House, Floor 4, 114-B Pozitano Str. Sofia 1303 Bulgaria.
Tel. 359 (0)2 221713. Tel./fax 359 (0)2 217623.

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