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di Reneta Nikolova  
ASSOCIATION “CLUB – JOURNALISTS AGAINST CORRUPTION” was established on 6 April 2004 by 25 journalists from 18 leading media. The Board of the organization includes journalists and jurists. The club has 10 regional structures – in Vidin, Kardzhali, Vratsa, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Varna, Montana, Burgas, Karlovo and Veliko Tarnovo and has more than 160 members.
Our immediate goal is to unite the efforts of government institutions and journalists to work against corruption. Our main task is through the media influence to provoke public intolerance to the various forms of corrupt practices and to motivate the attitude of citizens to identify themselves as an important factor to change the corruption climate in the country. We believe that transparency in the work of institutions is essential for the prevention of corruption. Our position is that only the united efforts of institutions, media and civil society can bring real results in the fight against this phenomenon.
The association has signed cooperation agreements with:
- Transparency International
- Ministry of Interior
- Association of Prosecutors in Bulgaria
- Notary Chamber in Bulgaria
- Bulgaria’s Judges Union
?-Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria
Within the first project implemented by the club – “Public Intolerance to Corruption” in 2004 under the program “Open Government” of USAID “Club – Journalists against Corruption” started the initiative “No to corruption!” with shooting a video and investigative documentaries. The media campaign continued on the project “Face to face against corruption” of USAID.
With a goal at parliamentary election 2005 Bulgarian society to get clearer information about the activities of elected officials and thereby contribute to the next parliament to enter only people who will work in the public and not in personal or corporate private interest, the club initiated monitoring of the work of deputies to the mandate of the 39th National Assembly. The ranking of “most hardworking” and “laziest” MPs was announced in late May after a thorough analysis of their activities in parliament during the mandate.
For the period since its establishment to this day “Club – Journalists against Corruption” has implemented over 20 projects with the support of a number of American and European programs, among which:
2013: “Increasing the effectiveness in the work of Directorate “Coordination of the fight against infringements affecting the EU financial interests (AFCOS) in the Ministry of Interior”. “Preparation of media and information messages and providing media time for their distribution”. OP “Technical Assistance”.
2009-2010: “OLAF – Facing the European citizens. The role of international cooperation for the prevention of fraud and the misuse of EU funds”.
Integrated information campaign co-funded by the European Commission (OLAF) under the program Hercule ??-2009. The project was implemented by “Club – Journalists against Corruption” in partnership with the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria, Ministry of Interior, Czech customs, Prosecutor’s Office of Slovakia, Guardia di Finanza of Italy and ZKA of Germany.
2008-2009: Project “Mastering the experience of OLAF’s Communicators network and the new European models of partnership with the legislative system”. OPAK and ?FC.
2008: Project “Integrated media campaign to raise the awareness of Bulgarian citizens for their rights and responsibilities under the new Code of Civil Procedure”. Project of “Club – Journalists against Corruption” with the financial support of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria.
2008: Project “The Prosecution facing society”. Fund “Bulgaria” of the U.S. Agency for International Development and German Marshall Fund.
2007: “Prevention of misuse with EU funds through media control. The European standards for creating mechanisms of interaction and trust between institutions and media to prevent fraud and corruption with EU funds and to protect the financial interests of the community. The challenges to Bulgarian institutions and investigative journalists.” Republican budget.
2007: Public and media monitoring for prevention of corrupt practices in the regions of Sofia, Burgas and Stara Zagora. PHARE.
2007: “The Supreme Judicial Council – by and for the society”.USAID.
2006: “European standards in communication media-institutions. Europe’s experience, best practices from Bulgaria”. Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Communication strategy of Bulgaria for EU accession.
2006: Documentary educational information films “The court – a look inside”. USAID.
2005-2006: Integrated media campaign for the legislative system “We and the court”. USAID
2005: Information campaign to introduce legislation and experience of Spain in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. FIIAPP – Foreign Ministry of Spain.
2005: “Public and media monitoring of the corruption climate in the regions of Vidin and Montana to create transparent and effective mechanisms for fighting corruption”. PHARE.
2005: Investigative media campaign “Face to face against corruption”. USAID.
2004-2005: Investigative media campaign “No to corruption”. USAID.
The club was awarded a diploma of the government commission for fight against corruption for most successful anti-corruption practices in 2004.
Ten journalists of the club have been trained for teachers in anti-corruption. Five of them specialized in Finland under the project of “HOUSE Consortium”.
“Club – Journalists against Corruption” received also the prize of the Union of Lawyers, Supreme Judicial Council, Ministry of Justice, Council for Electronic Media and Union of Bulgarian Journalists for implementation of the project “We and the Court” with the financial support of the Initiative for judicial system strengthening of USAID.
At the invitation of the club Bulgaria have visited:
Renate Schroeder, President of the European Federation of Journalists
Alessandro Butticé, Spokesman for OLAF until 2010, now Head of Unit R4 – Information Activities, DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission
Wolfgang Hetzer, one of the most authoritative European experts in anti-corruption, advisor to the ex-Director-General of OLAF
Thierry Cretin, head of Directorate “Operations” of OLAF until 2010
Elizabeth Sperber, head of OLAF’s “Agriculture” Department until 2010, observing the “SAPARD” case
Freddy Dezeure, head of “Internal Audit” at GD “Information society and media’ EC
Wolfgang Schmitz, spokesman for the German Customs Investigations Service ZKA
Gian Luca Berruti, spokesman for the Italian Financial Police Guardia di Finanza
Jiri Bartak, spokesman for the Czech customs
Dagmar Papcunova, prosecutor at the General Prosecutor’s Office of Slovakia
Filippo Poletti, Italian Reporters Association
Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez, the most famous and most guarded magistrate in Spain who is the first in the list of targets in the terrorist organization ETA came to Bulgaria at the invitation of the club. Bermudez is the magistrate that heard the case for the bombing of the Madrid railway station Atocha at which 192 people were killed and nearly 2,000 were wounded. Javier Bermudez is Chairman of the National Court of Spain in cases of organized crime, terrorism and money laundering. He came to Bulgaria for the premiere of the film “Spain – judicial model best practices” and delivered a lecture on terrorism. During his visit were taken unprecedented security measures – the magistrate was guarded by the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit throughout his stay in Bulgaria.
For special contribution in the fight against corruption and in communication media – institutions Club – Journalists against Corruption awarded certificates of honorary membership. Among the honorary members of the Club are:
Antonio Tajani – Vice President of the European Commission
Alessandro Butticé – Spokesman for OLAF until 2010, now Head of Unit R4 – Information Activities, DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission
Thierry Cretin – Director “Investigations and Operations” at OLAF until 2010.
Rosalind Wright – President of the Supervisory Committee of OLAF until 2010.
H. E. John Beyrle – Ambassador of USA to Bulgaria until 2008.
H. E. Fernando Arias – Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain until 2009.
Aidan White – Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists until 2010.
Michael Fritz – Director of USAID Mission in Bulgaria.
Judge Kenneth Stewart – Director of the project “Initiative for judicial system strengthening”
Christopher Thompson – manager of the project Commercial Law Reform
Franz-Hermann Bruener (1945 –2010) – Director-General of OLAF until January 2010.
“I am proud to be a member of the Bulgarian Club – Journalists against Corruption,” is written on the site of Alessandro Butticé in Twitter.
The Chair of the Club – Reneta Nikolova is the author of the TV rubric “We and the Law” BNT, European journalist of 2007 in the ranking of the European Voice Journal “Europeans of the Year” for people with greatest contribution to the European agenda. She was chosen because of her efforts to put the issues of corruption to the attention of politicians. She is a member of the OAFCN. She is a member of the Committee on Gender Equality of the International Federation of Journalists.
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