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Bulgarian journalists have urged the European Union to investigate claims that the secret services have been spying on the media.
Journalists from the site Bivol.bg, dubbed the Bulgarian WikiLeaks, have written to prominent European officials demanding an EU probe into suspected spying on the media.
In the letter to Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Commissioner responsible for Home Affairs, and to Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs at the European Parliament, they refer to the announcement by Bulgarian parliamentarian Slavi Binev last week that he had information about a secret service operation, codenamed "Buddhali", (meaning "fools",) aimed at Bivol journalists.
"The European Commission must execute a detailed probe to establish if there is indeed such surveillance case," they said.
"This could be done in the frame of this month's visit of the EC mission under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism," they added.
In the letter, the journalists also noted that their site is an independent online investigative media outlet, focusing on corruption and organized crime.
They recalled further that in February, the site published the so-called "Buddha" file, which detailed former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's ties to organized crime in the 1990s.
The publication said that in 1996 the Central Services for Combatting Organized Crime, CSBOP, recruited Borisov as an informant under the alias "Buddha", while in 1997, a plan for operative surveillance was established.
Commenting on the claims, Borisov at the time said that as Prime Minister he could order the secret services to launch surveillance cases against journalists at any time.
The media watchdog organisation Reporters without Borders condemned his statement, describing "secret service investigations" of journalists as a thing of the Cold War era, and not compatible with Borisov's position as leader of an EU member state.
The Association of European Journalists then sent a request to Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, demanding to know if there had been such surveillance cases, which would break both Bulgarian and European law. No response has been received.
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