SKOPJE, 30.07.2020 – The Association of Journalists (AJM) and the Council for Media Ethics in Macedonia (CMEM) react strongly to the publicly expressed threats and insults with elements of hate speech sent through the social network Facebook towards the activists and journalists at “Civil Media”, Xhabir Deralni and Petrit Saracini.
On this social network, a person with a profile named “Marjan Kamilovski” recently publicly posted a photo with a firearm and then threatening text followed with inappropriate words, which indicates that will not tolerate public criticism of one of the newly elected MPs in the Assembly of RNM. Another profile motivated by this post, named “Sekula vojvoda fan club”, in aggressive and insultingly manner addressed the journalists, calling them “northerners”, “ballistic dogs”, after which other users continued with threats and hate speech.
This type of aggressive rhetoric present on some of the social media profiles intensified during the election campaign, for which we reacted several times, and it continued after the early parliamentary elections.
As journalistic organizations, we point out that hate speech and threats to life are crimes under the Criminal Code. The competent institutions should urgently be investigated and process them, primarily the Sector for Computer Crime and Digital Forensics at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO) in Skopje in order to punish those who break the law as well as to prevent possible acts caused by hatred.
We remind you that the safety of journalists and the right to free speech are the basic features of a country that aspires to be democratic. That is why we insist on an immediate reaction from the institutions and active monitoring of the occurrence of hate speech, especially at social networks. On the other hand, we demand from the political parties’ public condemnation of the attacks and support to free thought, especially from those parties to which the persons threatening publicly show affiliation.