Journalists Unions attending the IFJ/EFJ meeting for affiliates in Eastern Europe held in Macedonia lent their support to the Trade union of Macedonian Media Workers and Association of Journalists of Macedonia’s demand for urgent media reform.
Primarily they called for the immediate release of Tomislav Kazarovski, the investigative journalist who was handed a 4.5 year jail term in 2013 for allegedly publishing the name of a protected witness. He was arrested and charged after publishing investigations into the mysterious death of the editor of Fokus magazine in a car crash. The charges however relate to an article he had written 5 years earlier citing a ‘protective witness’ who had gone public foregoing his ‘protected witness’ status. Kezarovski’s appeal is due to be heard on 24 October.
Participants also expressed support for Zoran Bojinovski, Macedonian journalist currently resident in Serbia where he is fighting extradition to face charges of espionage in Macedonia. Bojinovski’s colleagues believe he is being framed as a result of his investigative journalism and exposure of high level corruption. They add that he will not face a fair trial given the lack of independence of the judiciary.
A pattern is emerging of the Macedonian authorities systematically prosecuting investigative journalists with a record of exposing corruption of powerful figures.