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National Co-ordinator Juliana Toncheva
Head of International Relations Department
Bulgarian National television - BNT
Bulgarian National Television is the public broadcaster, funded through government funding and commercial revenue. BNT has four regional office centres in the towns of Blagoevgrad , Varna, Plovdiv and Rousse. BNT has 3 TV channels - BNT 1 2 BNT and BNT World.
Bulgarian National Television has remained a leader in terms of trust built in state institutions. According to sociologists a reported 75% of the Bulgarians approve of and trust this national media. The reason – BNT is a public operator of unquestionable value.
Ever since it was established in 1959 till date, having never stopped informing, enlightening and entertaining its audience, this television experienced together with the Bulgarian society a complicated, interesting and ambiguous evolution in time. In the course of thirty years it was the only TV broadcaster in Bulgaria, and following the democratic changes it began to operate in conditions of a market oriented economy, competing with almost 200 private TV operators. And despite the brisk advent of reality shows, which are currently the main magnet for TV audiences and high rating propeller for the private TV operators, BNT is ranked No 3 in terms of number of viewers and share of the market. In fact, it strengthened its position as a kind of guarantor and pledge for observing the principles and interests of civil society in the spirit of the best European practices.
BNT operates in compliance with the Law on Radio and Television, adopted by the Bulgarian Parliament in 1998, and is directly supervised by an independent regulatory body – the Council for Electronic Media, which elects its director general and board of directors, their mandate being three years. BNT gets its financing mainly from the state budget, and this issue remains one of the unresolved ones contradicting the television’s public character. The television has limited rights to broadcast commercials – not more than 15 minutes within 24 hours and not more than 5 minutes in the prime time. Currently BNT has six programmes – BNT 1, BNT sat (a satellite channel), and four regional stations: Pirin (in the city of Blagoevgrad), More (in the city of varna), Plovdiv (in the city of Plovdiv) and Sever in the city of Rousse). It is applying to get a regional municipal frequency on the territory of Sofia.
BNT 1 broadcasts 24 hours, fully covers Bulgaria and together with its 4 regional TV centres for the country and abroad is a veritable up-to-date information network. BNT 1 also has an Internet portal (www.bnt.bg) and on-line news (http://news.bnt.bg), and its programme will soon be fully available on the Internet in conditions of strict observation of copyright.
BNT 1 can also boast of a unique asset – a Golden Fund of national memory for the past fifty years which can be viewed and heard. One of the urgent tasks before the media is its digitalization, which has already begun successfully.
There are news roundups every two hours, and together with the social, cultural and educational broadcasts, these are the top rated priorities on the programme schedule. These constitute some 30% of all the information broadcasted. A total of three-fourths of the programme of BNT 1 is taken up by European and Bulgarian TV production, which has fully adopted present-day principles for a cultural dialogue, tolerance for difference, and uniformity in diversity.
The satellite channel BNT sat is an emotional accent in the programme schedule of BNT. BNT sat is a unique television channel which broadcasts 100% Bulgarian programs. It transmitted on EUTELSAT W2 and covers the whole territory of Europe, most of Ukraine, the European parts of Russia, Western Asia, Northern Africa, the East Coast of Northern America, and parts of South America. Created in 1999, it aims at maintaining a dialogue with the Bulgarian Diaspora abroad, which is why the channel carries out a good communication policy, together with the need to present Bulgaria in the world.
A national strategy on digital broadcasting of radio and TV programmes in Bulgaria is about to be adopted. We expect it to create prospects for opening one more frequency for national coverage for BNT, because this is perhaps the only public television in Europe, having one channel of national coverage only.
The GOLDEN CHEST International Television Festival organized by the International Relations Department of BNT is the longest-standing festival in Bulgaria. It was founded in 1968 and 2008 marked its fortieth anniversary. In these years it has always been one of the few events in Eastern Europe where creators from all over the world have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and experiences. Participation of television stations from Europe, USA, Australia, Japan, China, etc. has turned the festival into a unique and thought-provoking meeting point for many television professionals from all over the world.
During the past several years BNT programs won prestigious awards at Prix Danube Festival (Slovakia), the Golden Vityaz (Russia), Prix Nike (Portugal), Prix Jeunesse (Germany), Prix CIRCOM, Golden Albena (Bulgaria), Bar (Montenegro), Golden Cairo Film Festival (Egypt), Golden Rose (Switzerland), etc. BNT also regularly participates with own programs in numerous international festivals such as Japan Prize, Monte Carlo International TV Festival, Thessaloniki International Festival for TV Documentaries, International TV Festival for short-feature films in Oberheim (Germany), the International Documentary TV Festival in Cracow (Poland), the FIAT International Festival for archive materials, The Golden Prague International Festival, PRIX Italia, etc.
BNT is an active member of the European Broadcasting Union. It is also a member of the following international organizations: EGTA, IMZ, CIRCOM Regional, FIAT and BBLF.
Mrs Vyara Ankova, Director General
Mrs Sevda Shishmanova, Director of Programmes
Mr Daniel Chipev, Director of Information
Mrs Rositsa Grigorova, Director of Finances
Mrs Svoboda Mihailova, Director of Commercial Department
Mrs Juliana Toncheva, Head of International Relations, Projects and Programs
Mrs Silvia Simova, Head of Communication Department