July 3, 2023

03.07.2023 – Threats Against Journalist Condemned by Media Organizations in North Macedonia

On 27 June 2023 Ognen Janeski (Огнен Јанески), in social media known as ognen_od_janevci, an editor from North Macedonian private television station TV 24, who is also cofounder of Fuckup Nights Skopje, was subjected to public threats during two live TV shows on TV 24.

An anonymous viewer during the show “Ochi v Ochi (Очи в очи),” verbally threatened Ognen Janeski. Additional during the show “Vo tek („Во тек“)” an anonymous viewer expressed hate speech and threats directed to all journalists in the country.

The cases have been promptly reported to the authorities in Skopje, North Macedonia and an expeditious investigation is expected to ensure swift sanctions against the perpetrator or perpetrators. The legal amendments also provide penalties for publicly expressed threats of criminal acts on the Internet, which are motivated by any kind of discrimination.

North Macedonia has since this year a better legal protection for journalist and persons working in public interest. The amendments to the Criminal Code were adopted in February 2023 by the North Macedonian Assembly. According to the amendments to the Criminal Code, for threats to the life of media workers, lawyers and health workers, the attackers will be liable with a fine or a prison sentence of up to 6 months. If the threat causes a feeling of fear or insecurity, the sentence can reach up to one year in prison. If violence is committed against these persons, then the prison sentence is from three months to three years.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network with more than 3000 individual members in more than 30 states, strongly condemns such public verbal threats against media workers, emphasizing their unacceptability.

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