Macedonia (Republic of Macedonia) FYROM: Verbal attacks against journalists by deputy of parliament in Republic of Macedonia/FYROM

Macedonia (Republic of Macedonia) FYROM, 17/07/2009

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is informed that on 16 June 2009 journalists reporting from the Parliament in the Republic of Macedonia/FYROM were the target of verbal attacks, including slander, by deputy of parliament Amdi Bajram.

Reportedly angry that he was not the main object of the journalists' attention, Bajram began to verbally attack the journalists reporting from the Parliament, saying, among other things, that they should be beaten and incarcerated, and calling them Mafiosi who work for foreign intelligence services. The speaker of the Macedonian Parliament, Trajko Veljanovski, condemned the incident.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Bajram, who is a member of the ruling majority, has unleashed an outburst at members of the media. Recently, he threatened to set the premises of the daily newspaper Dnevnik on fire.

SEEMO strongly deplores threats and public attacks against journalists, in this case by a representative of the Parliament, who is also a representative of the people and should be standing firm for freedom of expression, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said. SEEMO calls on the authorities to demonstrate their commitment to the protection of journalists by taking all possible steps to counter such disturbing developments. We therefore welcome the reaction of Parliament Speaker Veljanovski, as well as the apology issued by Mr. Bajram on 17 June, and hope that such incidents do not occur in the future.

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