SafeJournalists: Urgent Call to Address Online Threats Against Lepa Dzundeva and Other Journalists in North Macedonia

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    photo: canva

    SafeJournalists Network is alarmed by the online harassment and threats directed at Lepa Dzundeva of TV 24. 

    This hostility followed after the interview conducted by Lepa Dzundeva with Greek MP Angelos Syrigos, which was misrepresented and circulated by TV host Bogdan Ilievski, inciting hate speech and threats on Facebook. One comment on Ilevski’s original post even stated: “to f*** this goat, ‘severdzan’ (pejorative name for those who use North Macedonian) han; for people like you, tongue cutting and everything else that follows.” Some online media, including Off.net.mk, amplified the attacks, resulting in additional personal insults and hostility toward the journalist Dzundeva. Threats and insults on Facebook were also directed at other journalists. 

    North Macedonia is highly ranked by Reporters Without Borders for press freedom, but such unpenalized threats to journalists must be addressed to maintain this good image in the region. Impunity for such explicit cases is unacceptable. 

    SafeJournalists Network demands that the Ministry of Internal Affairs take immediate and decisive action against those responsible for the threats. The continuous threats to journalists pose a grave threat to their safety and the freedom of the press. Citizens must be aware that such criminal acts carry severe consequences, including imprisonment. We remind that recent amendments to the Criminal Law in North Macedonia classify journalists as officials, granting them higher protection. Consequently, perpetrators face stricter penalties for infringing on their safety.   

     

    The SafeJournalists network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about this case. 

    Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy, and the rights of all citizens.    

     

    Pristina – Skopje – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Belgrade – Podgorica, 07.06.2024

     

    Association of Journalists of Kosovo

    Association of Journalists of Macedonia

    BH Journalists Association

    Croatian Journalists’ Association

    Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia

    Media Union of Montenegro