Police officers are seen in Sofia, Bulgaria, on March 21, 2020. Bulgarian journalist Nikolay Staykov recently received threatening phone calls. (AFP/Nikolay Doychinov)

Bulgarian investigative journalist Nikolay Staykov receives threatening calls

Berlin, July 7, 2020—Bulgarian authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the threatening phone calls made to journalist Nikolay Staykov, hold those responsible to account, and ensure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Since mid-June, Staykov, an independent journalist and co-founder of the Anti-Corruption Fund in Bulgaria, a local advocacy group, has received dozens of anonymous phone calls inquiring about funeral services, according to a report by the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

On July 4, the Bulgarian News Agency, the country’s state news agency, reported that the journalist was under police protection and that the Sofia public prosecutor’s office was investigating threats against him.

“While we welcome the news that Bulgarian authorities are investigating threats received by journalist Nikolay Staykov, the investigation must not stop until those responsible are brought to justice,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Threatening a reporter because of his coverage is unacceptable, and Bulgarian authorities must take every possible measure to demonstrate that such threats will not be tolerated.”

The calls began on June 19, soon before Staykov released the first part of a documentary series, “The Eight Dwarfs,” about alleged corruption among high-ranking officials, according to RFE/RL.

Unidentified individuals threw eggs at the journalist’s house on July 2, after the second part of the documentary aired, according to a tweet by local journalist Christo Grozev.

CPJ emailed the Sofia prosecutor’s office for comment, but did not receive a reply. Staykov did not immediately respond to CPJ’s request for comment sent via Twitter.