The Association of Journalists of Macedonia strongly condemns the detention of the cameraman from TV 21, Ibrahim Mahmuti, and the photo-reporter from Kosovo, Blerim Uka, during the verdict on the case “Divo Naselje”.
It is devastating that such a heavy attack on media freedom happened on November 2, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
This kind of attitude of the institutions is completely unacceptable and aims to intimidate journalists and encourage self-censorship when reporting on certain court proceedings.
Our colleagues Mahmuti and Uka, for six hours, were detained in a police station with an explanation that they were filming the judges at the trial. After we talked with them after their releasement, the fact that the filming was just an excuse for the journalists to be questioned because they pictured the police outside the court building, is very irritating.
Remains the dilemma whether the police had an order to arrest our colleagues, because the Public Prosecutor’s Office informed us yesterday that they did not issue a warrant, while today they claim the opposite. We ask, what contributed in changing the statement of the Public prosecutor?
AJM will submit a complaint to the Ministry of Interior for the unjustified six-hour detention of our colleagues in the police station, without being given the opportunity to inform the editorial office or their families that they had been detained. We expect the police to seriously investigate this incident and to impose appropriate sanctions. Only with open dialogue between journalists and the responsible institutions we can change the bad practice for not punishing the violence against journalists.