The cultural rights as well as the freedom of expression, participation and access to culture are guaranteed in the Bulgarian Constitution (see chapter 4.1.1).
Art. 2 of the Law on the Protection and Development of Culture (1999) states that among the basic principles of national cultural policy are the democracy of cultural policy, the freedom of artistic creativity and non-censorship (1), and the preservation and enrichment of cultural and historical heritage (4).
In Art. 10 Ch. 1 (1) and (2) of the Law on Radio and Television (1999),the media service providers in Bulgaria are guided by the principles of:
– Guaranteeing the freedom of expression;
– Guaranteeing the right of information.
According to the same law, the public media (Bulgarian National Television and Bulgarian National Radio) are obliged to promote access to media services for all citizens, and to reflect different societal ideas and beliefs (Article 6, Chapter 3, (1) and (6)).
In Art. 8 Ch. 2 and Ch. 3, television- and radio broadcasters are encouraged to provide services accessible to citizens with disability in their vision and their hearing.
Since 1992, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms has been in force in Bulgaria, of which Art. 10 states that everyone has freedom of expression.
In terms of regulation on the protection of human, social and cultural rights, there are several bodies:
1. The Ombudsman advocates, by the means and instruments provided for in the Ombudsman Act, when the rights and freedoms of citizens are violated by state and municipal authorities and their administrations, by persons entrusted with the provision of public services, as well as by private legal entities.
2. The Electronic Media Council has been the national regulator of the media environment since 2001, following the closure of the National Radio and Television Council.
3. The National Council for Journalistic Ethics Foundation, founded in 2005, aims to establish and maintain a self-regulatory system for print and electronic media in Bulgaria on the basis of the Bulgarian Media Code of Ethics, adopted in 2005.
4. The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) is an independent non-governmental organisation for the protection of human rights: political, civil, cultural and social rights. The goals of the BHC are to promote respect and protection of human rights, to lobby for legal changes, to foster a public debate on human rights issues and to promote the idea of human rights to the general public.