In connection with the nomination of the former Head of the News, Current Affairs and Sports Department Mr. Anton Hekimyan as a candidate for mayor of Sofia, bTV Media Group considers it necessary to clearly emphasize that the trust and capabilities of our newsroom have been proven for more than 20 years.

Immediately after the request, bTV accepted Mr. Hekimyan's resignation, immediately restricted his access to the bTV newsroom and all other company resources, and we quickly informed the internal community and the general public about his departure. Although we are fully confident in the quality, talent and commitment of the editorial team to the objectivity of news, bTV Media Group introduces a number of measures that it plans to implement during the upcoming election season in order to protect the name and reputation of bTV as one of the most objective and reliable media in Bulgaria.

From September 23 (Saturday), Ralph Bartolight, CEO of bTV, together with the management team of the News Department, took over the management of the newsroom. The editorial office of bTV employs experienced and established journalists whose professionalism and ethics are proven and their achievements speak for themselves. Our journalists follow the values and principles set out in the CME's editorial guidelines. More information can be found here: Mr. Bartolait will be interim Director for News, Current Affairs and Sports until a suitable replacement is found.

The Editorial Board of SME will continue to engage bTV with its presence and experience and to ensure objective, impartial and high-quality content from the news and current affairs team. Information about the members of our esteemed board can be found here:

- In due course we will announce our editorial plan for coverage of the election campaign for Local Elections 2023, which will ensure impartiality of the news.

- We will use the services of a third party - an external agency to monitor the objectivity of our news coverage during the upcoming election campaign.

- An authorized representative from the editorial board of the CME will be available to answer questions that Bulgarian media may have in connection with our election coverage.

"bTV evaluates the impact of this situation very seriously and our top priority continues to be to adhere to our editorial guidelines and to cover the news impartially and objectively," said Ralf Bartolait, CEO and Acting Director of News, Current Affairs and Sports.