Journalist Kristijan Landov was prevented from performing his journalistic duty last week while he was in the Civil Court in Skopje, where he was present as a member of the public at the scheduled main hearing.
After the start of the hearing, the journalist team of “Makfax” and “A1on” was verbally attacked by judge Natasha Todorova, with a threat that can be interpreted exclusively as an attempt at censorship and obstruction in the exercise of the journalistic profession. After the court hearing began, the judge identified colleague Landov as a journalist, asked him for his journalist’s identification card and after it was established that it was duly issued by the employer, he sat down in the section designated for the public. When the judge finished registering the rest of the people present, without any explanation she addressed him in a high tone: “What are you doing?” Pick up that laptop, go! I will take the laptop and take it to the president of the court. You are not allowed to have that.”
Landov clarified that the laptop does not record and does not have such a possibility, but is used only for writing notes from the trial, saying to avoid interpretations that would not correspond to what really happened. The judge, without explanation, spoke again in a high tone with the words: “There is no reason for you to take notes, the court keeps the record, not you. Get your things and go!”
In this way, our colleague Landov was prevented from doing his journalistic work. The Association of Journalists of Macedonia condemns the extremely unprofessional behavior of Judge Natasha Todorova in the Civil Court in Skopje towards Landov. We believe that this procedure is inappropriate and represents an attempt at censorship.
We expect the Judicial Council, to which the journalist Landov, with the help of AJM submitted a petition on behalf of our colleague Landov, to take measures against the irresponsible judge in order not to allow such inappropriate communication in the future, but also to protect the rights of journalists.