Through an announcement to the media, the company “Feroinvest”, in which the majority owner is Kocho Angjushev, former Deputy Prime Minister for Economy, in an inappropriate manner through serious accusations, is making an attempt to publicly discredit the work of colleagues from the Research Reporter Laboratory (IRL). The forced attempt to disparage journalists from this media outlet, as stated in the announcement of “Feroinvest”, is the announcement of a new IRL show about the company “Braco” and about modular hospitals, and related to the tragedy in which a modular hospital burned down in Tetovo on September 8, 2021, a tragedy in which 14 fellow citizens lost their lives.
First, in their announcement they try to create a conspiracy that “only companies owned by Macedonian businessmen are targeted”, thus giving the impression that other businessmen who are not ethnic Macedonians are not of interest to journalists in Macedonia. Such a narrative is dangerous because it attempts ethnic discrimination in which the hidden message is that journalists are selective, and this in turn can cause hate speech crimes as well as violence against individuals from the media sector. If persons from the management of “Feroinvest” have knowledge of other criminal acts by other companies in the country, regardless of the ethnicity of the managers in these companies, they are obliged to give a statement to the competent institutions.
Apart from the ethnic note in the announcement of “Feroinvest”, there is an aggressive and slanderous speech towards IRL: …”after each of their series of extremely untrue, tendentious and manipulative broadcasts and articles about the companies of Kocho Angjushev…”. This approach can once again make media workers the target of future threats and attacks, thus directly endangering freedom of expression and creating an environment of self-censorship among all journalists.
Third, through this part of the statement: “we call on the financiers of this portal, which the portal presents as its supporters, to evaluate whether it is worth supporting these phenomena, from which the professional media community distances itself, and whether they stand behind their texts and behind the attacks on Macedonian business and business persons”, public pressure is being put not only on IRL, which is an award-winning newsroom many times precisely because of its journalistic-research works, but also on donors who support their work and general investigative journalism in Macedonia.
It is indicative that this kind of public pressure for the work of IRL is done before their issue is announced, and related to the work of the companies within “Feroinvest”. Precisely this, but also the harsh language and the incitement of hatred on an ethnic basis in their announcement, leaves doubt that they want to hinder the work of IRL and thereby demotivate other journalists and media to have an interest in the work of this company.
We remind you that if the management of “Feroinvest” has a genuine problem with publications from any media, they have legal instruments, namely: a request for correction or a denial, and apart from this, the media self-regulatory mechanisms through the Council of Honor at AJM and the Council for Ethics in the Media in Macedonia (CEMM) are available to all citizens who believe that professional standards have not been observed in media reporting.