The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Monday’s brutal attack on Ognian Stefanov, editor of the investigative news Web site Frognews, in Bulgaria. The editor and his family had recently received anonymous phone calls warning Stefanov to stop his journalism or face consequences, Stefanov’s deputy, Aleksandar Ivanov, told CPJ. The site publishes investigations into the activities of public officials, and particularly those in the state security services.
Stefanov is hospitalized in critical condition, with broken arms and legs, a brain concussion, and severe blood loss; he is unconscious, Ivanov told CPJ. According to the Bulgarian Web site News, prosecutors are investigating the case as an attempted murder.
Stefanov, 54, was leaving a restaurant called Kiparisite in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, at around 11 p.m. on Monday, when he was approached by four men in black clothes and hats. The men reportedly asked the journalist if he was Ognian Stefanov; when he confirmed his identity, they started beating him with hammers, according to multiple local press reports. The Bulgarian Interior Ministry issued a statement saying witness accounts could not confirm the exchange. The statement also denied a report that said the attackers had introduced themselves as police officers. Ivanov has not regained consciousness since the incident. (Read more in Scoop)