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About the Service

Relaunched in 2019 in response to declining media independence. Originally opened in 1950, closed when Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004. 

Operating from Sofia, Svobodna Evropa is entirely digital: website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Viber. 

Known for its video investigative and explainer stories: The corruption scheme on the Bulgaria-Turkey border earned more than 850,000 views. 

Within weeks of launch, Svobodna Evropa broke news in an investigative series about luxury apartment sales to officials in Sofia. 

Service focuses on Russia’s malign influence, bringing stories from the frontlines in Ukraine to Bulgarian audiences. 

Exposes disinformation with reports “Who repeats Kremlin’s talking points in Bulgaria?” and “How come the majority of the candidates in the elections speak like Putin?”  

Investigation into Russia’s Lukoil caused political scandal and video explainer earned 275,000 views. 

Told the story of how the former Bulgarian government used a gas pipeline to help Russia pressure Ukraine before the full-scale war. 

Reaching Audiences

Media Climate

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index ranks Bulgaria 71st out of 180 countries. 

RFE/RL and its journalists are frequently attacked in media controlled by the political and business elite. 


Bulgaria’s Anti-Corruption Fund

Recognized by Bulgaria’s Anti-Corruption Fund,  honoring three of the Service’s reporters. 

Valya Krushkina – Journalism for the People Awards

Two Svobodna journalists received prestigious “Valya Krushkina – Journalism for the People” awards. 

Media Center

Latest Updates

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev (r) meeting with RFE/RL President Jamie Fly (l), April 11, 2022.

RFE/RL President Jamie Fly Visits Bulgaria

During a visit to Bulgaria this week, RFE/RL President & CEO Jamie Fly met with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.

RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service, 1 Year Old, Hits Ground Running

One year since its launch in Bulgaria amid widespread media decline, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Bulgarian Service has notched a series of high-profile investigations and eye-opening reports.

RFE/RL Returns To Bulgaria

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) relaunched its Bulgarian Service on January 21, 2019.

Service Director

Ivan Bedrov

Ivan Bedrov is the Service Director of RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service, known locally as Svobodna Evropa, which was relaunched in January 2019. Over the course of a 30 -year-long career in Bulgarian media, Bedrov has worked as a radio reporter for RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service in the late 1990s, and as a current affairs program producer and host for the country’s first private national TV station, bTV. In 2014, he was made Deputy Editor –in Chief of the leading news and analytical website He has also worked as a political commentator for the international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Bedrov was a member of the Bulgarian Commission for Journalism Ethics and has won several journalism awards. 

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