Review: Former Special Rapporteur ignores the questions of “Dnevnik” daily about the “Putsch” affair

on 16 - 04 - 2015       
Овој напис го има и на: Macedonian



The fact that Richard Howitt, one of the most influential MEPs “dared” to warn the Macedonian government not to arrest opposition leader Zoran Zaev, is obviously considered to be a “great sin” by some people. This is why the author of the article that is the subject of this review tried so hard (as she said) to reach this British politician, mostly at his Brussels address. Despite her alleged persistence, she didn’t manage to contact Howitt, and is now criticizing him for his lack of responsiveness, although his assistant answered her call and, allegedly, promised her that she would get a response, but failed to keep his promise.

Hovit-Dnevnik-09876-098Link to the original article:: Поранешниот известувач игнорира прашања на „Дневник“ за „Пуч“

Date and time of publication: March 2, 2015, 10:16

Review date: March 3, 2015

Reviewer: Ljubomir Kostovski

“Since then, i.e. Wednesday till today (Sunday), Howitt is ignoring the new developments in the “Putsch” affair, such as the first court ruling and the guilty plea of the first convicted person, Zvonko Kostovski. The ‘Dnevnik’ daily is constantly trying to get the rapporteur’s comment on these new developments, but to no avail.”

It’s worth mentioning that the success of journalists – even the success of the world’s most renowned, influential journalists – is based on their power to get the answers they want from certain individuals who would provide these answers in the desired format and quality, and it wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that these attempts usually fall within the 1:10 ratio (one successful phone call out of ten). The success of these attempts (especially if we take into consideration the geographic distance) depends on two things.

The first thing is the name of the journalist seeking an answer from the important person (in this particular context, an EU official). Why would the author of this article believe that she can reach a senior official of the European Parliament? Does her biography include something so important that Howitt simply “couldn’t resist” answering her call? Or, perhaps we are forgetting that a few years ago, a group of Macedonian journalists stormed a conference in Brussels, creating a scandal at the EU headquarters!

Does anyone think this has been forgotten and that there is no one to remind these politicians about it, when it comes to dealing with journalists from this part of the Balkans?

The second thing, of course, is the subject on which Howitt is called to comment; the case with the agreement between an official of the Ministry of Interior (who was defended by lawyers of senior officials with the former Yugoslav intelligence service, UDBA) to become a protected witness, and to “only” get three years in prison, with a promise to be pardoned perhaps when he serves half of his prison sentence. Why would the journalist think that Howitt would be familiar with this case and that he would have all the elements necessary for an appropriate response? And what does this have to do with the political weight of Howitt’s request to the Macedonian government, addressed directly to Interior Minister Jankuloska?

In addition, how can one expect MEPs to have, translate and interpret the verdict? Actually, who would rush to comment a ruling requiring many pages of legal debate about its validity, in circumstances when the investigation of the defendants has not even been initiated, and when the first defendant is being asked whether he legally had a gun at his home? Further details about this are available here, in terms of the verdict’s political inadequacy, which is confirmed by the former public prosecutor Jovan Trpenovski who says that the principle of contradiction in the criminal proceedings has been disrupted, i.e. the evidence assessment from both sides.

And, hypothetically, even if we would imagine that Howitt knew about Kostovski’s verdict, is Howitt supposed to lead legal battles or outwit our public over the phone!? Howitt was also criticized for something else by the same newspaper the very next day, which may indicate the intention of the editorial staff to try to discredit him in Macedonia.

The vagueness of this article spreads beyond its title, style and readability, but this is something we should leave for the article’s “consumers” to decide upon.




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