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Macedonian Journalists Protest Death Threats

Several journalists spoke at a protest in Skopje about the recent threats directed at journalist Borjan Jovanovski, holding the funeral wreath that had been delivered to his home as a death threat in April 2015. Photo by Vanco Dzambaski, used with permission.

Several journalists spoke at a protest in Skopje about the recent threats directed at journalist Borjan Jovanovski, holding the funeral wreath that had been delivered to his home as a death threat in April 2015. Photo by Vanco Dzambaski, used with permission.

Borjan Jovanovski, a prominent Macedonian news anchor, received a funeral wreath at his home on April 21. “Final Farewell,” read the message on the wreath. Jovanovski works for the independent news website Nova TV and is a well-known critic of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's conservative government. The wreath had been delivered directly to his wife.

Jovanovski duly reported the incident to police as a death threat, but the odds of finding the perpetuator are slim. According to recent ratings by the World Press Freedom Index and others, Macedonia's press freedom has been ranked “the worst in the Balkans” and threats and questionable defamation suits against journalists are becoming more common.

On April 22, several journalists in Macedonia demonstrated against the threat to Jovanovski, linking the incident to the country's deepening political crisis. Also on April 22, journalist Zoran Bojarovski received death threats via Facebook and reported them to police, who promptly launched an investigation.

OSCE Representative for Media Freedom Dunja Mijatović has called on the authorities to investigate the wreath sent to Jovanovski's home, noting that several groups have joined in condemning the threat, including the opposition SDSM political party, the Journalists’ Plenum, the Macedonian Institute for Media, the Agency for Audio and Audio-Visual Media Services, and both national journalists’ associations AJM and MAN.

Mijatović called on the Macedonian government to reverse the country's apparent trend of deteriorating press freedom. Recent developments include the conviction and subsequent parole of journalist Tomislav Kezarovski, the public labeling of another journalist, Jadranka Kostova, as an informant for foreign espionage agencies, and allegations that the government wiretapped the phones of more than 100 journalists.

The Journalists’ Association of Macedonia (ZNM) and the Macedonian Media Institute (MIM) also condemned the death threats, accusing state institutions of promoting an atmosphere of intolerance toward criticism of the government and politicians.

ZNM called it a “cowardly act directed against all journalists in Macedonia,” adding that this “incident is a consequence of the spreading of hate speech in media inspired by the conduct of the political parties.” ZNM highlighted that state institutions have so far failed to solve a single case where a journalist suffered violence, verbal threats, or hate speech.

Follow our in-depth coverage: Macedonians Demand ‘a New Beginning’

  • Vladimir

    Borjan Jovanovski is a disgrace for Macedonia and a Soros funded PR representing US imperialistic interests in Macedonia. IMO he should be deported to the EU or US. No one since I remember Jovanovski being active in the media has considered him as anything more than a Soros / EU / US mouthpiece working against Macedonian national interests. All journalist with any integrity should avoid supporting his partisan and corrupt pro-western agendas.

    Zoran Zaev uses CIA supplied surveillance materials to topple the democratically elected government by creating a scandal. This and the American organized islamic terrorism attacks on the Macedonian border are methods for destabilization of the country that chose to build the Russian Gazprom’s New South Stream gas line. EU in this situation is merely the obedient battered wife. For those not introduced into geopolitics and realpolitik, this is called proxy war between USA and Russia on Macedonian territory.

    This Global Voices Online news portal is also obviously partisan US/EU funded front. Isn’t this world wonderful?

    • Jojo

      How much are they paying you to write this, Kurac?

  • Igor Siljanoski

    The writer of the article is obviously biased by her association with the funders of her work. Freedom of the Press in Macedonia is not undermined at all. In fact there are far too many paid for from abroad portals and news media sources. Promoting and atmosphere? Who is teaching these writers to use such language. Please be informed that this is a special media war that has a purpose to undermine a country, not to promote freedom, democracy or anything they claim is under threat.

    • Jojo


    • Jayse

      HAHA Are you crazy Igor?

  • Jayse

    FYROM is finished.

    • peter7260

      Macedonia is not finished,Z. Zaev is finished and his Soros supporters.Don’t take the people of Macedonia for granted,we will fight to the end for what is ours,and Republic of Macedonia is ours!!! A leader who has been pardoned for robbing 8,000,000 euro cannot lead a country,and that is the leader of the opposition Z. Zaev.

      • Jayse

        FROM is finished.

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