Direct Democracy march in Bulgaria

On Sept. 12th 2002 in Sofia, Bulgaria a march for direct democracy rights passed through the centre of the city starting from the National Assembly and visiting the two public media – BNRadio and BNTelevision. A real responsibility for bad governance and 90% taxation of illegal or significantly exceeding declared incomes property was also demanded. A petition signed by 3000 citizens was submitted to the Parliament – a second one of that kind. The first, signed by another 6000 citizens is submitted already in 1997 (without street action). And since it was totally ignored (by deputies and media), this time we went to the streets.

The march especially visited the public media in Bulgaria in order to remind them of their legal duties in realizing citizens’ constitutional right of information. Both of them were asked explicitly to include the event in their news emit ions. All the other media were informed through our info-agency “Sofia Press”. In the morning and at noon beforehand the National Radio did give us several minutes to announce the event.

The response in the streets was not high – about a 100 people, mainly students and young people joined the march. A handful came of even those 500 who have signed the petition with engagement to support it in street action. A lot of people saw and heard us in the streets – the route was 2 km long and there were plenty of posters, leaflets and non-stop sound and voice messages such as: “Representative without direct democracy is no democracy!” “Power is ours, says the Constitution, what remains is to take it. “Fed up with “liberators”, “saviours” and “leaders”?” “Take your freedom!” “Get rights of referenda, legislative initiative and recall!” “Civic access to public media! “Choose your judge and local “sherif”!” “Rights of DD – first, politicians – next!” “Come, let’s burry false democracy – together only can be done!” “Who if not you and when if not now?” “Enough balloons against empowered robbery! 90% tax on illegal property!”

Several newspaper reporters were taking snapshots. Two interviews were broadcasted life by BNR and one by Drarik-radio.

But according to the news of both public media in the evening and next day no such thing as march for civil rights and handing a petition to Parliament happened on 12 of Sept. in Sofia. The so- called “National” Television totally ignored us – obviously “protecting” from something the great audience it holds.

The coverage in private electronic media was a little better. One private TV station – bTV and one private radio – “Darik” announced the event in the “news” and also an interview was emitted in the latter. However no newspaper, including the two biggest dailies “Trud”(Labour) and “24 hours” (both owned by Watz) published anything about it.

So the demands of already 9000 citizens voiced this time from the streets in the centre of the capital was again muffled by the media – our voice did not reach the public in the country as one of the events of the day. And it’s hardly likely that the morning announcements and 3 interviews broadcasted in working hours reached a great deal of the people in the country.

So events (ideas) “scissored” by the editors of the “news” do not reach the people. Not only the potential support cannot be checked in this way – it cannot show up at all. It remains `hidden’, averted and “suppressed” without violence (except that on information). That is how MEDIA exclude people from participation in evetns that concern them – softly. But not less efficiently.

We have not the resources to tell all the people about DD. And also to explain how well it fits their interests – because as something new and unfamiliar its logic needs explanation. We cannot travel from town to town with a hooter. Or it’s too long a way… We need an access to the nations ears… That’s the right we need to place at least in democratic agenda.

Internet is an open medium but… accessed by only 12 % of the Bulgarians on certain regular basis (only 5% – from home). And half of those would hardly be great fans of DD.

Leave a comment