The Association of Journalists of Macedonia strongly condemns the attack on the journalist and cameraman of TV21 by close relatives of the mayor of Arachinovo, Milikije Halimi from the political party SDSM.
Yesterday, after the team of TV21 filmed the poor infrastructure and the complaints of residents of this municipality, relatives of Mayor Halimi sent verbal threats to the television crew that they would break their cameras and demanded their recordings to be deleted. After journalists refused to erase the recordings, they were forced to enter the municipal building of Arachinovo and again they faced the same threats. They refused to delete the recorded material for the second time, and then the incident continued in the premises of TV21 where the same persons threatened the journalists and the editor-in-chief that they should not publish anything. At the same time, police officers arrived in TV21, after which the persons who were threatening the journalists left the television, while the journalist and the cameraman gave statements at the police station.
Such violent and primitive behavior, especially from persons close to politicians, is unacceptable and is an attack on the freedom of information. Furthermore, it represents a classic obstruction of journalists’ work. We call on the mayor Milikije Halimi to immediately condemn this attack, while at the same time we demand an urgent and effective investigation by the Ministry of the Interior.
This incident will also be reported in the Regional Platform for advocating media freedom and journalists’ safety.