The Basic Civil Court Skopje, as a first instance litigation court, rendered a decision by which the plaintiff’s lawsuit of the Political Party “LEFT” against the defendants Digital Media Company Online Media DOO Skopje and Predrag Petrovikj is rejected as an untimely complaint.
This decision follows the previously submitted lawsuit to the court by the political party “LEFT” on February 20, 2021, which states that the online media “A1on.mk” on December 07, 2020, published an article entitled: “Apasiev is silent about the money which Left is supposed to receive and does not say whether will give up in favour of the working class”.
The political party “LEFT” reacted to this journalistic text by submitting a request for denial and it was published by the media. Dissatisfied with the denial, the political party “LEFT” filed a lawsuit against the media and the editor-in-chief, but the court ruled that such a lawsuit was untimely because the political party “LEFT” did not comply with the legal deadline of 30 days to file such lawsuits i.e., the lawsuit was overdue.
In addition, last month the president of the political party “LEFT”, Dimitar Apasiev lost a criminal case that he initiated against our colleague Meri Jordanovska for a previously published text.
These types of lawsuits serve to create intimidation and legal costs or simply exhaust the defendants, in this case, journalists in order to demotivate or give up public criticism. Such lawsuits in the context of the Council of Europe are known as Strategic Public Participation Prevention (SLAPP) lawsuits. These lawsuits, especially when initiated by politicians and public officials, can provoke self-censorship among journalists and thus violate the right of citizens to information.