Anna Zarkova, Crime Reporter for Trud, Severely Burned on Face, Arm, and Neck

CPJ Writes to President Stoyanov in Protest of Attack 

May 11, 1998


His Excellency Petar Stoyanov President 
The Republic of Bulgaria 

Your Excellency, 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is greatly alarmed by the May 11 assault in Sofia of Anna Zarkova, a prominent crime reporter for Trud, a popular independent daily. 

Zarkova was attacked while on her way to work by unidentified assailants, who threw acid in her face. She was hospitalized under guard with serious burns to her left eye, the left side of her face, neck and left hand. Doctors are uncertain whether she will regain the sight in her left eye. 

Zarkova has won several Bulgarian journalism prizes for her investigations of organized crime and corruption, ranging from street gangs to the highest levels of government. Nikolai Stefanov, deputy editor of Trud, told CPJ that Zarkova and he are convinced the attack stemmed from her work. Stefanov said that nearly a year ago,  Zarkova received several anonymous death threats by telephone to her office after publishing an expose about a former deputy chief prosecutor. She recently wrote a book about several high-profile murders in Bulgaria over the past few years.

Anna Zarkova, reporter for Trud, in a hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria. Acid splashed 
on her by an unknown assailant burned her face, left eye, neck, and arms. 
[AP Photo/Nina Nikolova-24 Hours daily]


On January 18, 1998, a bomb exploded in front of Trud's offices, and the newspaper has suffered eight more bomb threats since. Authorities have so far failed to complete their investigation into the bombing. Stefanov said that in light of these incidents, as well as a proliferation of criminal and civil libel cases filed by officials against journalists, the country's politicians were responsible for creating a climate where journalists can easily become targets of reprisals. 

As a nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the universally recognized rights of our colleagues around the world, CPJ condemns this vicious assault against Zarkova. Such violence aimed at silencing journalists fosters a climate of fear and violates all international norms of press freedom. As a signatory of several international agreements, Bulgaria has pledged to guarantee that journalists can freely and safely pursue their profession. We urge you to investigate this incident and bring those responsible to justice. 



William A. Orme, Jr. 
Executive Director, CPJ 

Join CPJ in protesting this vicious attack 
on Anna Zarkova and against the rights of journalists to work freely and safely in Bulgaria. 

Fax to: 

His Excellency Petar Stoyanov 
President of the Republic of Bulgaria 
011-359-2-875-601 or 011-359-2-822-574 

Vasil Gotzev 
Justice Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria 

Bogomil Bonev 
Interior Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria  

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