The Association of Journalists of Macedonia strongly condemns the misconduct of Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Pesevski, which last week after a press conference where he was presenting a report of “Doing Business” for Macedonia, insulted a journalist from the daily newspaper Vest because she asked whether the government is considering to increase the age limit of 67 years for retirement.
Pesevski irritated by the insistence of the journalist to get a precise answer about the government’s intention to increase the age limit for retirement and turned to the journalist with a counter question: “Are you able to say yes or no if I ask you whether your parents know that you are a prostitute?”
Pesevski shows that he has no basic domestic education and political culture, which borders with bullying and primitivism. This attack is not only directed toward a professional journalist, which main task is to ask unpleasant questions to politicians, but it is an attack on media freedom.
Such attacks aim to belittle and intimidate journalists not to request a report of the work of public officials and to kill the sense of the role of journalism in a democratic society.
We are disappointed by the behavior of our colleagues who were present at the event and did not react to the insults of Pesevski. We appeal in the future in similar situations journalists jointly react and show greater solidarity.
Utterly hypocritical for politicians is to ask the media to report professionaly of the election campaign while also physically attacking and insulting journalists without incurring any liability.
We ask Vice Premier Pesevski who last year in broad daylight attacked a journalist to publicly apologize to the journalist but also to take political liability. Also either he should resign or Prime Minister Emil Dimitiriev has to dismiss him. We remind Dimitirev that for similar harm to a journalist serbian prime minister sacked the defense minister.
At the same time we call on VMRO-DPMNE to disassociate itself from the behavior of their minister and member of the party leadership and ask them not to submit his candidacy for MP in the next election. Otherwise, we will consider that VMRO-DPMNE justifies and allows violence and inappropriate behavior towards journalists.
Association of Journalists of Macedonia