(PRAGUE - January 21, 2019) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) relaunched its Bulgarian Service on January 21 at 8:00am local time in Sofia, resuming news coverage after an absence of 15 years.
The service, known locally as Svobodna Evropa, will provide independent news and original features and analysis exclusively on digital platforms, for now leaving its radio days behind.
Media monitors have expressed concern about the decline of media freedom in Bulgaria in recent years. Monopolization of ownership and corruption have made it harder for Bulgarians to access balanced information, while eroding public confidence in western institutions and democratic practices.
Managed by award-winning journalist Ivan Bedrov, the service had already attracted more than 15,000 followers on social networks even before its website went live.
RFE/RL previously served countries across Eastern Europe prior to their joining the European Union and NATO. Broadcasting to Bulgaria ended in 2004. RFE/RL relaunched its service to Romania, which it closed in 2008, earlier this month.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to over 34 million people in 26 languages and 22 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed over 2.6 billion times on Facebook and YouTube in FY2018. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.