Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) published the following announcement on Sept. 17, 2015:
A month ago, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia faced with escalating violence against journalists and irresponsible and unprofessional behavior of the Ministry of Interior Affairs sent letter to all relevant organizations where Macedonia is full member, as are the United Nations, the Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the most important partners of Macedonia, United States and the European Commission.
With the letter alerted these organizations and countries about violence against journalists takes dramatic proportions and asked for immediate intervention within the Macedonian authorities to ensure security in the performance of Macedonian journalists and to prohibit their lives endangerment. Moreover, the AJM demanded from these organizations and countries to conduct international monitoring of these cases, which will help for their clarification and prevention of new attacks.
As response to our requests, we received letters for support from the US State Department and the European Commission. We want to share with you the important messages from these letters to Macedonian authorities.
“The United States strongly condemns any violence against or harassment of journalists. The violence and intimidation directed towards the journalists described the letter from AJM have no place in a modern, democratic society,” said in the letter US State Department Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary, John Heffern.
Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary, John Heffern encourages Macedonian journalists who have been victims of criminal acts of violence and intimidation immediately to notify the responsible authorities as for them it would be easier to follow these cases when they are part of the official police and judicial records. “Officials in our Embassy in Skopje and Washington D.C. will continue closely to monitor the status of freedom of press in Macedonia and we will remain committed to strengthening media freedom in the country,” adds Heffern the letter.
He believes that freedom of press is a central component of a healthy and democratic society is a key requirement to Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and therefore in future will encourage freedom of press and will continue to commit for strengthening freedom of expression before the Macedonian government.
Concern about escalating violence against journalists in Macedonia was expressed by spells and Christian Danielsson, Director General of the European Commission Directorate for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations. Danielson in the letter calls on the authorities to investigate the cases and to bring perpetrators to justice. “It is necessary to provide safe environment for journalists independently to perform their work without undue interference and without fear of threats and censorship,” said Danielsson in the letter sent to AJM.
He suggested that this issue should be addressed within the political dialogue and overcoming the political crisis in the country.
We remind you that Vice Prime Minister attacked the journalist and did not suffer any political responsibility. In addition, journalists were attacked with rods and was destroyed the property of journalists and the competent authorities have not yet found the perpetrators.
We call the Minister of Interior Affairs Mitko Chavkov seriously to commit in shedding light on cases of violence against journalists. We hope that the Minister Chavkov would use this opportunity and encourage his colleagues for active commitment for shedding light on these incidents.