17 March 2023

Access to Information Programme shares the expressed concerns of Bulgarian and international nongovernmental organizations, media and journalists about the record claim for 1 million BGN from “Lev Ins” insurance company against Mediapool for a publication based on a public statement of a minister at a Council of Ministers meeting. AIP call on the insurance company is to “drop the weapons” and to dismiss their judicial claim, accepting that the culture of debate is inherent to the democratic society.


The claim was registered due to an article published in Mediapool which reveals a problematic situation for Bulgaria related to the Green Card system and shared at a Council of Ministers meeting. In Bulgaria verbatim reports from the meeting of the Council of Ministers are published in internet since 2009 as a result of the successful case initiated by the journalist Alexei Lazarov from Capital newspaper and supported by AIP. This transparency practice encouraged many other states governments to open for public the


Council of Ministers meetings. However, now it appears that to quote an information which is already public costs 1 million BGN.

Such a claim could kill a media, commented Alexander Kashumov, Executive Director of AIP. Filing such a case, Bulgaria will lead the ranking for serious SLAPP cases in Europe. This is a precedence as it refers to a claim filed for 1 million BGN – a huge amount for a small media which will close it down for real.


Earlier this year Access to Information Programme together with the Association of European Journalists submitted an appeal to the Minister of Justice about initiating urgent measures to prevent malicious claims against journalists and media. In January 2023, the Minister of Justice Zarkov declared his solidarity with the topic.


Ensuring a space for free debates without censorship is essential for the democracy and it is especially important during the current elections period.