Bulgarians, like residents of any open-minded, democratic
country, scoop domestic and international news from all available
print and electronic sources. But only about 4 percent of the 7
million-strong population own a PC with an Internet connection,
while almost every Bulgarian household boasts a TV. In the absence
of a levy on television and radio sets, it is no surprise that most
Bulgarians rely on these two types of media to stay informed.
print publications are by no means becoming obsolete, analysts say.
As a recent National Center for Public Opinion Research poll shows,
there are no fewer than three daily newspapers in the top six news-oriented
media. Trud, a daily with an estimated circulation of 500,000,
is the second-most-visited source of information for events in Bulgaria,
lagging just 2.4 percent behind the leader, Channel 1 of Bulgarian
National Television (BNT).
poll showed that political news is the most sought-after kind of
information. Thus, another myth is refutedthe notion that
people do not trust newspapers and electronic media because they
are unreliable sources of information, create only negative emotions,
and manipulate events for the sake of sensation.
four-color, glossy lifestyle and specialty magazines abound, the
late 1990s marked the demise of the traditional newsmagazine in
Bulgaria. The demand for newspapers has not died out, though. Sofia-based
newspapers are the highest grossing, varying in newsstand price
from 30 to 50 stotinki [14 to 23 cents].
from the capital and the largest provincial centers, the economy
is depressed, unemployment is high, and the purchase of periodicals
is a luxury for many. For example, the people of Dobrich are inquisitive,
but owing to mass impoverishment, few of them are regular newspaper
buyers now, according to Natasha Savova, a street paper vendor in
this large northeastern Bulgarian town. She told the independent
Standart News: “I remember that we hit our largest turnover
[in 1996] when [ex-Prime Minister] Andrei Lukanov was assassinated.
Nowadays, should a deputy in parliament get the bullet, nobody would
be much impressed. Our turnover has plummeted since the same time
was a time when folks would buy newspapers like hotcakes,” recalls
Savova. “Our regular clients took home two or three newspapers a
day. Now they can afford one per week. To make matters worse, thieves
stalk our stands, and while one group pilfers what is on display,
others are on the lookout for our turnover money,” she complains.
to Milko Petrov, head of the Theory and History of Journalism Department
at the University of Sofia, while the provincial newspaper landscape
has contracted, regional dailies have managed to survive by serious,
in-depth coverage of the news.
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