Mr. Lukas Katsonis
Makedonia Managing Editor
Fax number: 302 310 534-854
31 January 2005
Dear Mr. Katsonis,
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest journalists’ organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is extremely concerned over internal censorship and the violation of fundamental trade union rights at Macedonia daily.
According to our affiliate, the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH), there have been repeated attempts by the management of your paper to censor editors' work. We have been informed that the latest incident in such a series involved an article published over two weeks ago and written by editor Nikos Eliadis on future local elections in Thessaloniki, which was altered and distorted without his consent.
Consequently, when our colleague informed his union of what had occurred, he was “penalized” by being placed in another department for supposedly “committing the improper act of informing his union of the matter”.
We find such actions absolutely unacceptable standing in direct violation of the fundamental principles of editorial independence and the right of unions and their members to act in solidarity. Furthermore, our affiliate has informed us that their role as a union has been directly attacked by the Macedonia management.
This action demonstrates a particular indifference and purposeful will to ignore the core values of social justice upheld by the landmark decision of the Thessaloniki Court of Appeals in October last year in favour of Makedonia journalist Haralambos Bikas who was fired on unclear grounds after he returned from the war in Iraq.
You will remember the clear decision of the court which held that “an internal solidarity strike calling for the reinstatement of an employee is an entrenched and legitimate right exercised for the collective good and which lies at the heart of unionism and workers’ solidarity”.
We are calling on you now to respect both our colleague’s right to work independently without interference and to be represented without prejudice by his respective union.
We ask you to reinstate our colleague into his original position and to enter into professional dialogue with our colleagues at ESIEMTH in order to resolve the remaining questions at hand.
IFJ General Secretary