The Association of Journalists of Macedonia condemns the campaign of intimidation and humiliation of journalists that started during the last days in Skopje and was enforced by strangers that were inspired by belligerent statements of the president of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, who, in the past week, urged ethnic Macedonians to take part in a protest against the formation of a new-government with ethnic Albanian parties.
Gruevski in order to accomplish his political interests is cowardly using young people to do his dirty work and exposes them and their families at risk.
Yesterday, the primitive provocation to the journalist Borjan Jovanovski, who was spit in the face while having a diner in a restaurant, as well as the harassment of the journalist Branko Trichkovski in front of his family house is a direct attack on freedom of expression.
We want to bring to attention and warn that such provocations can escalate and result into physical violence against journalists with unforeseeable consequences. In the 21st century, it is inconceivable Macedonian journalists to be a subjected to pressure and harassment because they publicly express their positions.
This shameful campaign aims to intimidate and silence journalists and other citizens and opponents of the government. Gruevski knows that only uninformed citizens can be easily manipulated and dragged into the conflict.
We call on Gruevski to stop spreading hate speech that incites violence and calm down his followers. This call applies to all politicians and public figures to refrain from such bellicose vocabulary.
We appeal to all journalists and media to report professionally and not make the situation worse. Only in this way they can help to calm down the tensions.
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
March 3, 2017