The release points out the following:
On October 24, 2023, Judge Jovanka Spirovska Paneva, during the retrial at the Court of Appeal in Skopje, ruled against the Research Reporter’s Laboratory (IRL) and the editor-in-chief, Sashka Cvetkovska, in a defamation and insult case. The lawsuit was filed by the former vice-prime minister and businessman of the country, Kocho Angjushev. The judge found the non-profit media organization guilty of harming the reputation and honor of Angjushev and his companies by publishing an investigative documentary called “Conspiracy Against Air,” broadcast on May 16, 2021.
With the passing of the verdict, the journalists are required to pay all legal costs. The same court had previously ruled in favor of IRL and Cvetkovska, ordering them to pay a symbolic compensation fee for allegedly failing to provide Angjushev with the right to reply and mandating the publication of the verdict in a full-page newspaper.
The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM) characterized the case as a lawsuit against public participation (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation – SLAPP). Cvetkovska has announced her intention to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if seeking justice through domestic courts does not yield results.
Mapping Media Freedom (MMF) is a platform that documents violations of media freedom and journalist rights throughout Europe. It provides legal support, engages in public advocacy, and offers information to help protect journalists and media workers. The platform is part of the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and contributes to the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a mechanism that monitors press and media freedom violations in EU member states and candidate countries. For more information about the work of this platform, please visit the following link: https://www.mappingmediafreedom.org/methodology/