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News agencies gather in Kazanlak for 18th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media


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BTA  celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2023, hosted a total of 40 Bulgarian media outlets, 26 of which were from 15 countries beyond Bulgaria

News agencies from around the globe gathered in Kazanlak, Bulgaria, from 1-4 June for the 18th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media, οrganised by the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA).


The meeting coincided with the 120th anniversary of the Rose Festival in the city.

BTA, which celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2023, hosted a total of 40 Bulgarian media outlets, 26 of which were from 15 countries beyond Bulgaria (in Europe, America, and Australia), as well as 14 media outlets from Bulgaria. Journalists from 18 news agencies, including CNA, participated.

The President of Bulgaria, the Vice President of the country, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Mayor of the city addressed the meeting.

“We cannot develop as a democratic society without strong, free, and independent media“, said Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in his address, closing the conference on Sunday. President Radev added that only with free media one can defend truth and justice. He underlined that the freedom of the media ends where journalists, publishers, or the media itself depend on economic, political, corporate, or external interests. “The freedom of the media must be our top priority“,  he underlined.

In her address during the opening ceremony of the meeting, Vice President of the country, Iliana Iotova, stated that “freedom of speech is at the core of our human freedom and is the precondition without which democracy is impossible.”

“Today, Bulgaria is a free country because Bulgarians have the opportunity to make choices continuously. This is an opportunity that not all of our contemporaries have around the world, and an opportunity that our ancestors did not always have”, said Kiril Valchev, the Director-General of BTA, emphasizing that media freedom means that these choices, including the wrong ones, should be seen as a mirror. He noted that “free societies like ours should not start resembling those we refuse by banning, restricting, censoring, deleting entire media outlets or part of their content when we disagree with the wrong choices they have made.”

Ninety-six-year-old Bulgarian poet Nayden Valchev also spoke about the freedom of speech, thought and the press, highlighting the importance of education. Valchev wrote the lyrics of the song “A Bulgarian Rose” in 1970, which was declared the “song of the century” in Bulgaria in 2000.

Kazanlak is located 235 kilometers east of Sofia, in the Bulgarian province of Thrace. It is the center of rose oil production in the country and the Kazanlak rose is one of the most widely recognized national symbols. The name of the city is derived from the cauldrons in which the roses of the valley were boiled to produce fragrances.

The Rose Festival began in Kazanlak in 1903, celebrating 120 years this year. It is an international tourist destination that boosts the local economy. The festival combines traditional customs, dances, presentations of local products, and a parade. The festival opened on Friday with the coronation ceremony of the Rose Queen, chosen among high school graduates from the Valley of Roses.

During the festival, rose products were sold at the local open market. The ceremony of collecting rose petals involves traditional dances and a reenactment of the traditional collection of petals by students from the region. Tourists can also gather rose petals from the nearby rose fields.

Kazanlak is the center of the Valley of the Roses, the home of the Thracian kings, and an attractive tourist destination. The country’s largest and best-preserved Thracian tombs are found here and they are included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, along with the Museum of Roses.

Source: CNA

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