Filip Stojanovski is a Global Voices author and translator based in Skopje, Macedonia. He is the Program Coordinator of Metamorphosis, a think tank which seeks the development of democracy and prosperity by promoting knowledge-based economy and information society. He has been blogging in both English and Macedonian since 2003 and has written a number of essays and research papers. His essay “Some Sources Of Bias In Reporting About Macedonia” is especially relevant to those interested in global perceptions of Macedonia.
You might be surprised to learn that the Japanese cherry blossom festival, Sakura, is celebrated in Macedonia's capital, Skopje. Among Filip's other blog posts: the use of new media in Macedonia's 2008 election, Facebook's removal of the personal profile of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and a recent boat accident on Lake Ohrid. His post about Greece's opposition to Macedonia's entry into NATO attracted nearly 100 long, passionate comments.
My name is Filip Stojanovski. I am living in Skopje, Macedonia. I contribute to Global Voices through articles usually about the Macedonian blogosphere, and I also translate some for the Macedonian version of Global Voices.
Blogs in Macedonia didn't really take off until 2004 – and especially 2005 – and as far as I know the first blog from Macedonia was founded in 2001 by a young woman called Ana Maria who is living in Poland, and then the real impulse for development of the Macedonian blogosphere came from the development of a local Macedonian-language platform called Blogerei – blog.com.mk – which also used other, offline media to promote it's functionality.
David: You told me that Global Voices is one of the key aspects in your strategy
for more e-content in Macedonia. Why is that?
Filip: Well, generally Macedonian media do not provide much content
about the situation abroad that is different from the few mainstream agencies
that are dominant on the world market. Because some of the Macedonian media are connected to say Reuters or AP through their networks of ownership. Generally we lack a lot of information which is provided by Global Voices – information by regular people about events which are not only sensationalist, but are also often
interesting for the Macedonian public because they refer to things happening which are similar to situations here, and are not covered by the media. So it is very important for us that we have the perspective of how various problems are solved and various issues are raised elsewhere which can also be replicated here. And also to share our experiences.
David: So when you translate content into Macedonian, how do you choose which content you translate?
Filip: Well, all of our translators have the latitude to choose what they will translate. Because we are all volunteers and there is no central authority delegating which article to be translated. So if somebody wants to translate an article about a topic, they do it on their own. So, for me, myself, I usually have been translating articles which are about topics that I find interesting. And which I feel need further exposure within the Macedonian public. Especially because sometimes there are parallels that can be drawn but are not exploited by the traditional media.
David: What have you learned during your time as a Global Voices author and translator?
Filip: In general, I've learned more about the diversity of various citizen journalists around the world. And also about the need for the further spreading of information because what we have now is an experience where there are more people out there with whom you can do good things together than you would suppose before. It is probably the most important thing – that there is the possibility to do more and better things in the future.
David: What do you hope to see as the future of Global Voices over the next five years?
Filip: Well, generally I hope to have a bigger influence and more influence which would be connected to maybe offline activities within various communities. Generally, the content of Global Voices I think is great and should continue in the same direction. Maybe to attract even more authors and even more translators. Because it is not only beneficial at a social level – promoting progressive changes around the world – but also beneficial at a personal level. I find it very interesting that my Global Voices profile has a higher Google ranking than most of the things that I've done over the last 10 years online. And I think that as more translators get more global in a way of trying to find customers worldwide and not just in their own little business circle then this would provide a good incentive to attract more volunteers who are professional and willing to contribute their time. But in general it would also be interesting and very beneficial to continue with Rising Voices-like initiatives that would empower more users in more diverse communities worldwide especially those with less opportunities.