News 02 Apr 12

Macedonia’s A1 TV to Come Back on Net

A1, the pro-opposition station closed by court order last year, has announced its return in a different form in April.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Skopje
 

Former A1 journalists have put on logos on their Facebook profiles reading “A1 is coming”.

They say the station will preserve all of its previous content, including news bulletins, analysis, interviews, as well as culture and showbiz programs.

A1 went off screen last July after a court in Skopje pronounced it bankrupt and following the arrest of its controversial owner, Velija Ramkovski, who was later jailed for financial crimes.

The TV station claimed it was targeted by the government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski for its pro-opposition views.

“News and other content will go through video streaming but the site will also have a form of news portal with written articles,” one A1 former employee told Balkan Insight.

So far it is not clear how many original A1 staff will take part in the new project.  Journalists are reluctant to reveal names while the team is still being gathered.

Before its closure, A1 was by far the country’s most watched TV station. Its downfall started in late 2010 when its owner, media mogul Ramkovski and several of his associates, were arrested on charges of financial crimes.

In March 14, Ramkovski was sentenced to 13 years in jail for tax evasion, criminal association, money laundering and misuse of office. Eighteen others received jail terms in the same case.

As its troubles mounted, the TV started continous broadcasts in front of the government building last January, protesting over its blocked bank account. The station claimed that the court order to freeze its account came from the governing VMRO DPMNE party.

A1’s 234 employees had to say farewell in July when the court closed its premises, saying that it owed €30 million, €9.5 million of which was to the tax office in unpaid taxes.

The closures of A1 and three newspapers also owned by Ramkovski drew complaints about a government vendetta. Gruevski has denied this, saying the government had nothing to do with the station's plight.

Subscribe to Balkan Insight Premium to read the full article.

Please login to your account below if you are already a Premium Subscriber.

Buy Premium Subscription

Our Premium Service gives you full access to all content published on BalkanInsight.com, including analyses, investigations, comments, interviews and more. Choose your subscription today and get unparalleled in-depth coverage of the Western Balkans.

Buy Premium Subscription

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus