A Short Story: To Speak or Not?

Sorry for not writing much here lately (in the English version of my optimiced.com blog).

Some important things happened. The story, in short:

The statute of national park of mountain Strandja was about to be changed so that some companies to be able to build big resorts and hotel chains there.

Many people here in Bulgaria are against this decision and suddenly it became an activity, something like a flash-mob (unorganized civil protests). Many young people who care about the preservation of the nature started to protest peacefully, and their meetings were very quickly and spontaneously gathered after calls in a few blogs and Internet websites (including official media).

I felt involved as I care about the nature in my country, Bulgaria, and because this subject is important for me, too, I started to blog about it, using information from all around the blogosphere – copying it & quoting it.

I also went personally on some of these “flash-mobs”, made photos and posted them on my blog. I also posted a couple of reportages, including my comments on the “Strandja” case and on the ongoing peaceful protests.

I never thought this could be something illegal – many official media wrote about the remonstrances and numerous bloggers did it just like I did, many of them even used stronger language than me and aggressive words, which I don’t like.

Last week I received summons to visit the Sofia Metropolitan Police Department and absolutely not aware what is this about, I just went with questions in my head, but with a clear heart. There they asked me about my website (my blog) and about the Strandja protests. I had to write some explications and also signed a warning protocol, saying that I should not write in my blog anything that could call to disorderly conduct (like unofficial protests) and so on. I saw a line in the police documents, saying “the website www.optimiced.com must be investigated (watched constantly)”. I read on the top of the documents in front of me the name of the National Service for Combat against the Organized Crime, which indeed puzzled me.

Am I part of some criminal organization or maybe I was an organized criminal without even knowing it myself? I don’t know. But fact is, that me and my blog suddenly became a matter of investigation for the Bulgarian police :-(

Also there were printed sheets of paper from another blog of a guy, who wrote as well about the Strandja case, and he is also a journalist. On the stairs one of the police officers told me “in private” that I should be more careful what I am writing about in future, because journalists have a better defense against possible prosecution and I am just an ordinary person, an independent blogger.

That was the story in short. I had the feeling that it’s somehow strange that our police and also the National Service for Combat against the Organized Crime are so busy with investigating people like me, while there are so many criminals out there, but what do I know? I am just a man, now concerned in what kind of a country I dreamed to have kids?

I decided to tell the story on my blog and I did it.

But I wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of comments and people feeling concerned by this precedent, because the whole blogosphere felt that this as a strike against the free speech in the virtual world in Bulgaria. Now my only wish is all of this noise to end, but alas.

I said “no” to some media (a lot of reporters wanted to take interviews from me), because I didn’t want to became a media star. One TV said that I was one of the organizators of the protest, which is not true and is ridiculous.

Nevermind, I agreed for a short appearance in a morning broadcast on the Bulgarian National TV (www.bnt.bg), just to show that I am not “virtual”, but a real person, and also because I was told that in the studio we’ll have as a guest a representative of the Police. But they just sent something like semi-official statement, where all the mentioned reasons for the investigation against me and my blog were so weak that even I can tell you they will not stand in the court.

I don’t want to sue anybody for libel, even if I have the right to feel dirty after all this witch-hunt.

I only want this to come to an end and my name to stop being used like a chewing-gum from the media. I still believe that I didn’t break any law with my writings here.

If somebody thinks the opposite, there is court, please, prove these non-sense accusations.

–Michel
free blogger, writing on www.optimiced.com

7 comments |



Comments to “A Short Story: To Speak or Not?”:

  1. Arcane Lore Says:
    1

    Полицията разследва блогери?…

    Нима е възможно при толкова много други проблеми, при показни разстрели в центъра на столицата, откраднати милиони от управата на парното…

  2. Global Voices Online » Part One: Defending online free speech and environmental rights in Bulgaria Says:
    2

    […] Service for Combat against Organized Crime was Michel Bozgounov, BlueLink’s web designer, who reported the incident on his blog: Last week I received summons to visit the Sofia Metropolitan Police Department and absolutely not […]

  3. Part One: Defending online free speech and environmental rights in Bulgaria at Global Voices Advocacy Says:
    3

    […] Service for Combat against Organized Crime was Michel Bozgounov, BlueLink’s web designer, who reported the incident on his blog: Last week I received summons to visit the Sofia Metropolitan Police Department and absolutely not […]

  4. FreeNet Defends Internet Freedom in Bulgaria : Committee to Protect Bloggers Says:
    4

    […] The blogger in question is Michel Bozgounov (and in English here). More information on the case is available on the Bulgarian blog, Maya’s Corner, and of course in Michel’s own words. […]

  5. Are journalists more protected than bloggers? | Milko Georgiev's Blog Says:
    5

    […] is confronted with a curious case of interpretation of the liberty of expression and speech. During the interrogatory of the blogger summoned by the police was also warned that bloggers are more likely to be brought to justice than […]

  6. Bloggers Harassed by Police in Bulgaria | Milko Georgiev's Blog Says:
    6

    […] A prominent Bulgarian blogger – Michel Bozgounov- has been summoned by the by the Chief Directorate “Combating Organized Crime” because he shared information on his blog over flash mob protests against a very controversial decision of the Supreme Administrative Court to revoke the status of a National Park of territories in the Strandja Mountain. This decision generated a wide wave of protests across the country over a strong suspicion that it has been influenced (read: bribed) by real estate big investments’ interests. […]

  7. Полицията разследва блогери? | Arcane Lore Says:
    7

    […] Да мълча или не?, Ключова дума: “Странджа”, A Short Story: To Speak or Not? maniax – №1939 (english version), Отговорността antonia – Кой се […]

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