Is there a scandal in the village of Atiya related to an auto repair shop and a felled forest? Response from the Mayor of Sozopol Municipality

Кмет Тихомир Янакиев
Кмет Тихомир Янакиев. Снимка: Община Созопол

Mayor of Sozopol Tihomir Yanakiev distributed to the media the right of reply in connection with the article „Scandal in Atiya: The settlement where Rumen Dimitrov and Tihomir Yanakiev lost sight of a whole auto repair shop and a cut forest path /Video and Photos/“, published on the news site „Dnes Bulgaria“. He motivated his request under the Law on Radio and Television Art. 1, item 7 and Art. 18. In this connection, Article 39(2) and Article 41(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria on the prohibition of infringing the rights of others through freedom of speech. It reads:

„We believe that the article undermines the prestige of the municipal and local mayors, contains unverified, untrue information, offensive qualifications, insulting suggestions and aims to present the village of Atiya as an unattractive place for living and tourism.

We do not understand why your site is conducting a targeted black campaign against the Municipality of Sozopol with a series of materials. That is why we insist now and will insist after each subsequent article compromising the municipality, for the right to reply, which we have by law.

Again, under this law, if you deny us this right, the next step is to go to the Commission on Journalistic Ethics.

We are ready to seek our rights in court. We will file a complaint against you personally, against the publication and against the author of the article. We will file a lawsuit under Art. 147 and Art. 148, para. 2 of the Criminal Code for the crime of defamation. In this regard, please publish unedited the following response, including the photos and video footage:

In an article on the „Today Bulgaria“ website, entitled „Scandal in Atiya: The settlement where Rumen Dimitrov and Tihomir Yanakiev lost sight of a whole auto repair shop and a cut forest path /Video and Photos/“ false and tendentious information is written.

First of all, the two neighborhoods in the village of Atiya have nothing to do with a „stinking village“, as stated in the article. The statement that I quote, „Atiya has become a full-blooded performance of disorder, iniquity, and carelessness,“ is neither true nor underlain even by supposed facts. Since the beginning of the previous term of office, Mayor Rumen Dimitrov has made numerous improvements in the village, as can be seen from the attached photographs / p. 1,2 /. Work on the improvement of the village is still ongoing.

The „Miner“ monument quoted in the article, I quote: „decorated with the roses of indifference to history and respect for the dead“ is located in a garden with flowers and trimmed cultivated bushes. The path to it is surrounded by maintained vegetation. The kindergarten is currently decorated for the Easter holidays. /p. 3.4 /:

According to your article: „Next to this symbol of mining pride, however, is a car repair shop and Auto House, which are an epicenter of mass pollution and a fundamental „monument“ of the institutional ineptitude and blindness of local authorities in Atiya and Sozopol.“

The truth is that there is a car dealership at this location, but not a repair shop. According to its owner, only detergents that are used in homes are used to wash cars. They don’t pollute the environment any more than what you wash your dishes with. They contain no oils or synthetic wastes, and the sewers have definitely not been turned into a landfill as the article claims. Not a single law has been broken, as it also suggests.

Another false and apparently unverified information is about logging in a forest area. The owner of the car dealership is also the owner of the land surrounding it. The land clearing behind the building is on private land. Dry bushes have been cut there and the area is being flattened for the owner to use. It is adjacent to woodland but no trees have been cut. The plot will be landscaped and made safe for children to play there. /p. 5,6/.

Here’s what the owner of the car dealership and the land beneath explained:

At the end of your article, we see a suggestion of imprudence and conflict of interest in this paragraph: „…“the mingling“ of institutional sloppiness and personal interests, and perhaps friendships, led to this „dream“.

We consider this an insult, damage to the prestige of officials and defamation, for which we demand an apology from the site management and the author of the article.

Dear Mr. Editor, the administration of Sozopol Municipality has nothing against constructive criticism and pointing out of irregularities by the media and citizens, as long as it is objective, verified and corresponds to the truth. Insulting qualifications, fabricated „facts“, false statements, unverified circumstances do not make a media more qualitative, on the contrary – they reduce its credibility. Using your media as a „bat“ against the municipality of Sozopol, ordered by a political opponent or a dissatisfied citizen is a system that only works if the mayor is guilty and has to justify himself. Otherwise, as in this case, the media is very likely to end up as a defendant in court.“

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