Restriction to broadcasting licensing and freedom of expression in Bulgaria: the Anatoliy Elenkov case

Photo: Facebook

Photo: Facebook

In October 2000, Bulgarian authorities refused to grant Anatoliy Elenkov a licence for his religious radio show, depriving him of both a means of income and the ability to share his religious faith with others. After deliberating in secret and refusing to let Antoliy know the reasons for its decision, the committee charged with reviewing such cases dismissed the radio show host’s appeal.

Judgment by the European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights held that Anatoliy’s right to impart information and ideas and to be granted an effective remedy had been violated. The ECtHR further held that the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court failed to carry out an effective review of the decision to refuse Antoliy’s appeal.

Yet despite legislative amendments and changes to radio licensing procedures, the Bulgarian Administrative Court continues to arbitrarily dismiss appeals from people in a similar position to Anatoliy.

Country Situation

The Bulgarian judiciary has long suffered from a lack of independence, lengthy proceedings, corruption and a susceptibility to political pressure. These issues have led to widespread criticism from NGOs, the European Commission and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.

Useful links to the GLAS NADEZHDA EOOD AND ANATOLIY ELENKOV v. Bulgaria case (Application No 14134/02):