ACF: SLAPP Case of Kozloduy NPP Demonstrates Need for Legislative Change Protecting Free Speech

The Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation (ACF) calls on the executive and legislative authorities to thoroughly examine the circumstances that have motivated the management of Kozloduy NPP to initiate legal proceedings with a compensation claim worth 500,000 BGN against long-time employee Natalia Stancheva.

According to ACF’s legal team, the litigation against the nurse and her mother is legally unfounded and fully meets the definition of a SLAPP lawsuit — proceedings which claim to have a formally legitimate purpose (protection of rights) which, in practice, aim to censor, intimidate, and apply financial and psychological pressure on journalists and civil society activists.

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С натискане на бутона потвърждавате, че сте запознати с Политиката ни за поверителност

The nuclear power plant is claiming damages in tort because of reports of violations the law submitted to competent institutions by Natalia Stancheva and her mother, Yordana Kulinska. The reports concern a polyclinic which, in violation of the law, is located in the NPP’s preventive protection zone and is operated by the plant.

The information in the reports was provided to Stancheva by Kozloduy NPP following requests she had filed under the Access to Public Information Act. Because of her disclosures, the nurse with twenty years of experience at the plant received the Access to Information Program’s Golden Key Award in late 2023.

“It is important to highlight that some of the authorities that Natalia Stancheva sent reports to have indeed detected violations,” said Lora Georgieva, a legal expert at ACF. “For example, the medical check-ups of workers at the plant should have been carried out by an independent party. The fact that the medical facility where these examinations are carried out is part of the NPP raises questions about the objectivity of the health monitoring and whether it provides a reliable picture of the health status of the staff.”

“With her actions, Natalia Stancheva aims to protect the health of the plant’s workers and the public interest. As for the motives of the litigation against her, we can see nothing but an effort to silence a critical voice,” Georgieva said. “We are extremely concerned that, in this case, a state-owned enterprise is behind the attempted intimidation.”