Despite the fact that the constitution of the country provides for basic protection of media freedom and freedom of expression, Bulgaria’s ranking, with regard to press freedom, has been deteriorating and is currently far below the rest of the EU member-states. The 2015’s “Press Freedom Index”, published by the “Reporters without Borders”, takes the country to the place 106 out of the 180 countries worldwide, which is a drop of 6 places as compared to the previous year. The reasons for the ever deteriorating media environment are manifold. Following the bankruptcy of Corporate Trade Bank, one of the largest banks in Bulgaria, and under the pretext to preserve public confidence in the banking system, the National Parliament discussed, in July 2014, an amendment to country’s
penal code, which envisaged 2-5 years of imprisonment for circulating false or misleading information about banks in the country. Under a pressure from journalists’ associations and citizens, the parliament modified the provision, making it difficult to apply in practice. Yet, in January 2015, the Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission imposed a fine of 80.000 Euro to the Economedia publishing group which manages a few of the largest newspapers in the country, for disclosing sensitive information about the banking sector. Individual journalists were also fined in this attempt to impose media censorship. The media ownership remains highly concentrated and non-transparent. Despite the large number of print, TV and radio outlets, the media environment is by and large obstructed by interest groups. Investigative journalism is on the rise, but it rarely meets the support of media, or by the state prosecution. Regardless of the high volume of manipulative web sites, Internet remains the most preferable source of accurate and unbiased information. The role of the social media - as a place of a free information flow - constantly rises.