July 5, 2019. The ex-student of the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB) Emil Koshlukov was elected as Director General of Bulgarian National /Public/ Television (BNT), the only state-funded network. Three (3) of the five (5) members of the Broadcast media regulator the Council for Electronic Media (CEM) voted for the famous Bulgarian politician and talk show host.
The decision was made at the 1st vote in the CEM, the three (3) votes required by Betina Zhoteva (from ex -president Rosen Plevneliev’s quota), Rosita Elenova (from the parliamentary quota, Hristo Kovachki’s BTC) and the chairman of the media regulator Sofia Vladimirova (GERB of the MP Boyko Borisov).
The other nominee in the final discussion was Sasho Yovkov, supported by Ivo Atanasov (BSP, Socialists) and Ivelina Dimitrova (from the presidential quota nominated by current head of the state Rumen Radev).
The competition is held in the context of an unprecedented financial crisis in BNT.
Under current law, the term of office of a director-general of BNT is three years.
Emil Koshlukov has been acting director-general of BNT since Konstantin Kamenarov resigned from the post on April 24 2019. In July 2017, was a candidate to be director-general of BNT, but was defeated by Kamenarov.
In that time Koshlukov also became the host of the “From the day” in one of his editions he showed an average finger from the screen, which led to a protest in front of the TV building and a request for his resignation. Later, he apologized for his behavior, and CEM imposed a fine of BGN 3,000 on BNT.
According to Koshlukov, public television should carefully assess its costs. He gave examples of very expensive content.
BNT is in real bankruptcy. The situation is critical. We have to save FET. This was announced by Emil Koshlukov earlier, as of temporary director general of public television, in front of the CEM.
He presented his report on the program activity and financial situation of the Bulgarian National Television for the period March – May 2019 at an extraordinary session of the Council for Electronic Media. In fact, this is the time when BNT’s general director was Konstantin Kamenarov, whose term was terminated earlier in April due to a final verdict.
Koshlukov’s appointment is controversial and has already been criticised by the Association of European Journalists (AEJ).
Koshlukov’s biography is quite interesting.
Born on Oct 26, 1965 in Pazardzhik, Emil graduated from the English language high school in Plovdiv in 1985 and subsequently studied English philology at Sofia University. He speaks Russian, English and Turkish.
His father Elijah Ljubomirov Koshlukov was born on 25.07.1924 in the village of Tserovo, Pazardzhik, non-party, sued by the People’s Court of Communist Bulgaria.
His mother Stoyanka Koshlukova was born in 1928 in the same village, and she worked as a teacher. At present, his parents are retired and live in Pazardzhik. He has a sister – Ljubljana Ilieva Koshlukova, graduated in psychology, lives and works in Plovdiv.
In 1982 Emil Koshlukov was proactively preserved by the NM – child pedagogue room for the distribution of pornographic materials.
Koshlukov spent time in jail during Bulgaria’s communist era for mutiny, at the time when he was in the army. Аccording to socbg.com Koshlukov made lists of military objects and command line of the BNA that he had to surrender to the hands of Bulgaria’s then enemies from Turkey. He decides to desertify with the important information, but unfortunaly he was captured on the Turkish border in an attempt to pass it.
From 1991 to 1996, he studied political science at the University of California in Santa Barbara.
In 1989, he was one of the leading figures behind the formation of the 1st independent student organizations in communist Bulgaria and participated in civil disobedience campaigns against the government.
On December 14, 1989 he led the student rally, which merged with the Living Circuit, which later grew into a grassroots protest and siege of the Parliament. Then President Mladenov called army tanks to come.
In the fire of the House of Communist Party (August 26, 1990) he was accused by pro-communist circles of being involved in the burning. He appears at the scene of the fire and tries to stop the pimpologists who are there for both witnesses and video. But the attack on him was very strong, and his international passport was tool away. He was forbade to leave the country.
At the dawn of democracy, US Ambassador Sol Polanski warns: Koshlukov leads neo-fascists and Konstantin Trenchev is primitive and proud.
The people had heard about Zhelyu Zhelev, Radoy Ralin, Blaga Dimitrova and Stefan Prodev, but for the first floor they saw the square speakers from the beginning of the 90s Petko Simeonov, Petar Gogov, Petar Dertliev, Georgi Spasov, Konstantin Trenchev, Emil Koshlukov … Various reports of Western diplomats from that time have been kept in the archives, which sent to their governments extensive analyzes and psychological portraits for the new opposition faces. Most of them sound pretty weird today.
“Hungry boys …” Mr. Solanski wrote to his department. – Low level! There are no serious, prominent leaders! “
The Ambassador made the overwhelming features of opposition leaders, including Koshlukov.
“Be careful! From here everything can be lost. For me, this student movement is a neo-fascist movement. They can lead the country into a military situation! Mr. Koshlukov is everything, but not a politician … “
On Feb. 10, 1990 at 18.30, the official meeting of US Secretary of State James Baker with the leaders of the Bulgarian opposition was held at Sheraton’s Restaurant, where he wanted to meet the Bulgarian dissidents personally.
“Is this the opposition? Well, they are more like wax makers who have forgotten to polish their own shoes,” said the first US diplomat.
With the help of some people in 1990 Koshlukov passed the border through Bregovo (the others waited for him at Sofia Airport and Kalotina) and found himself in Belgrade. Two days later he was in the United States.
After being affiliated with the UDF in the early 1990s, in 2001 Koshlukov was elected to the National Parliament for the 1st time as part of NDSV. He was an MP from 2001 to 2005, elected on the list of Simeon Saxe-Coburg’s party NDSV. He quit Saxe-Coburg’s party in 2004 to form his own, Novoto Vreme (“New Time”, Bulgarian: Новото Време) political party and became its chairman. The new party was not able to find representation in the National Parliament following the 2005 elections.
Koshlukov was employed as a presenter by TV Evrokom from 2006 to 2009, going on to TV7, and in 2013 became a member of the executive board of the company that owned TV7, and in 2014, executive director of TV7 and News7.
In 2009, Koshlukov participated for 25 consecutive days in the 3rd season of reality show VIP Brother on the Bulgarian commercial TV channel Nova. He was the only politician among a total of 25 celebrity participants.
From September 2015 to April 2016, his “Koshlukov Factor” programme appeared on cable channel Kanal 3, and in 2016 and 2017, he was programme director of Alfa TV, which is owned by the Ataka political party of Bulgarian nationalists, described as extremist and anti-European.
In early 2018, Koshlukov was appointed programme director of BNT1, the main channel of public service broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT). At the same time, he continued to host the daily political talk show More from the Day.
In 2019, the Bulgarian Council for Electronic Media appointed Koshlukov interim Director General of BNT.