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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
One of the largest firms in Bulgaria, Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov is widely described by peers as one of the most prominent. The full service firm is known for its transactional work in the TMT sector and advice to entertainment and sports clients. Lawyers have particular experience advising cable broadcasters, film producers, advertisers and publishers in the area of financing, rights acquisition and regulation.
Dimitrov, Petrov & Co has a reputation for excellence in the area of privacy and personal data protection. Lawyers, who clients describe as “extremely competent and very responsive”, advise on cross-border compliance, corporate restructurings and e-commerce. The firm acted for an international television broadcaster on matters including privacy policies, compliance, licensing and content requirements. Lawyers also represent clients with success before the local media regulation authority.
Gugushev & Partners has developed an established position in the market and is rising as one of the region’s most widely respected practices. The team has exceptional experience advising a broad range of clients and leads the team in its advice on broadcasting, programming and regulation. Lawyers frequently advise on advertising, sponsorship and licensing matters.
Established in 1988, Kambourov & Partners has a long-standing presence in Bulgaria and equal focus on the TMT sector. The team is notably known for its work on large scale corporate structuring of radio and television operators and structuring of products and services. The firm also has a significant number of instructions from media and entertainment clients including motion picture producers, television companies, theatre and publishing companies.
Boyanov & Co has a prominent reputation and is known by peers for its expansive client portfolio. The firm focusses on media and telecommunications with advice to broadcasters ranging from regulatory and licensing to bids and auctions. The team is known for its advise on complex due diligence connected with mergers and acquisitions.
With a media and advertising specialisation, Kalaidjiev, Georgiev & Minchev advises on the issuance of licences for telecommunication activities, broadcasting and television production. The firm’s media lawyers draft agreements for advertising campaigns and media planning. Lawyers also litigate in cases connected with copyright and related rights.
Arsov Natchev Ganeva’s specialisation in media and sports is local and global. Lawyers act for foreign media companies acquiring local media entities, advise on licensing and administrative procedures and represent clients in cases of intellectual property. The team assisted entrepreneurs with establishing and acquiring sports clubs in Bulgaria while ensuring compliance.
CMS is one of the few international firms that has established a strong position in the legal market. The firm’s technology, media and communications group works across a number of jurisdictions on substantial transactions advising broadcast clients. Working in collaboration with the commercial team, media lawyers assist with distribution agreements, commercial contracts and data protection.
The primary focus at Borissov & Partners is on intellectual property, telecoms and technology - from which media and entertainment cases stem. The firm works on a range of matters from franchising, licensing and dispute resolution to advice on radio frequency spectrum and geo-stationary orbit. The team advises on media and neighbouring segments.
Eurolex Bulgaria affirms its position in the legal market with a steady influx of corporate instructions from media clients that include television and radio operators. The team advises on licensing, distribution and regulation. The media practice acts for newspapers and other printed publications, advertising agencies and website operators.
Ilieva, Voutcheva & Co has a background in media work that includes the establishment of a crowd-funding scheme for feature film production. The firm acts for multiple clients on film and video production, financing and distribution of media products and newspaper and magazine publishing. Lawyers also advise on cross-media ownership, interactive media and copyrights issues.
Combining transactional and commercial expertise, Penev advises on cross-border cases, regulatory compliance and lobbying. The TMT group also assists with data protection, privacy and licensing. In highlighted work the firm advised a leading US radio broadcasting company on an acquisition deal in Bulgaria. The firm is also appointed by internet and e-commerce companies.
Popov, Arnaudov & Partners regularly assists broadcasters with registration, programming and distribution agreements. The team advised a pay-television operator on distribution rights, rights holders on copyright levy and advertising industry clients.
Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners, member of Eversheds Sutherland focusses on data protection and copyright. The team drafts licensing and transfer agreements, advises on mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructuring. Lawyers also assist with data protection compliance and represent clients before the courts.
Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov
Dimitrov, Petrov & Co
Gugushev & Partners
Kambourov & Partners
Boyanov & Co
Georgiev, Todorov & Co
Kalaidjiev, Georgiev & Minchev
Arsov Natchev Ganeva
Penkov, Markov & Partners
Tocheva & Mandazhieva Law Office
Borissov & Partners
Ilieva Voutcheva & Co
Velchev & Co.
Kolcheva, Koev & Partners - Novel
Popov, Arnaudov & Partners
Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners, member of Eversheds Sutherland
RANKING AND EDITORIALS
REGIONS WE COVER
Middle East and North Africa
Central and Eastern Europe
The regulation stipulates that rating and audience measurement agencies must provide up-to-date data on their methodology. It is the duty of the media to publish information about their owners and contact details. Stress tests are also planned for media pluralism as a measure against corporate pressure.
The project emphasises transparent government advertising, mentioning that there will be general requirements for allocating these costs, and the information will be made public. The new regulation will upgrade the already existing forms of media legislation in Bulgaria, and the country will work with particular attention on this important file to strengthen the media environment within the European Union.
The year 2023 is expected to bring more legislative improvements in the area of media freedom. Bulgaria is one of the EU member states in which the so-called SLAPP lawsuits occur against journalists, so the EU initiative on precise anti-SLAPP legislation is expected to raise the level of freedom of speech in the country.
Yoanna Ivanova, Partner and Head of the Intellectual Property and Data Protection & Tsvetelina Paskova, Attorney-at-law
Gugushev & Partner Law Office
The European Commission stresses the significance of media diversity to allow citizens to form opinions without being unduly influenced by a single dominant opinion-forming power.
However, the history of media control shows the immense power of media in shaping public views and can be used to bolster the survival of a particular regime.
For the first time, the EU will introduce general media legislation with uniform rules for all types of media - electronic, print, online, platforms, communication agencies, etc., called the European Media Freedom Act. The main goal is the political and financial independence of the media.
The regulation aims to protect editorial independence by eliminating political interference, prohibiting the possibility of tracking journalists. It also aims to guarantee their protection when they refuse to reveal their sources, and ensuring transparency of funding, including public funds. The government and state bodies will not have the right to pressure the media, and journalists will be able to sue the authorities if they violate the provisions of the regulation.
The project includes the establishment of a new unified European media regulator - the European Media Services Council. The scope of national regulators will expand, and each country will have one representative and one vote in the regulator, and decisions will be made with a 2/3 majority. The Council will have expert and advisory functions, and the EC will also have a representative but without the right to vote.