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News 12 Feb 15

Macedonia's Press Freedom Ranked Worst in Balkans

The latest report on media freedom worldwide by Reporters Without Borders has ranked Macedonia the worst performer in the Balkans - and Romania the best.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic


Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

The new World Press Freedom Index, surveying the state of media freedom in 2014, has ranked Macedonia at the bottom of the Balkan pile in 117th position out of 180 listed countries.

This is a slight improvement from the previous year when Macedonia was ranked in 123rd place.

"The situation of Macedonia’s media continued to be bad in 2014, a year marked by the misuse of defamation legislation and politically-motivated allocation of state advertising", the report said.

The authors of the report, Reporters Without Borders, mention that the investigative journalist Tomislav Kezarovski remained under house arrest after being sentenced in October 2013 to four-and-a-half years in prison for revealing the identity of a protected witness.

The report also mentions the fact that in June, police forced several reporters to delete photos and videos of a protest they were covering.

Macedonia is the only Balkan country designated "red", the colour used for the worst-performing countries in terms of media freedom. All other countries in the region are marked "yellow", designating "problematic" areas.

Montenegro is ranked in 114th position, the same as in the previous year's report. The index mentions the January 2014 attack on Lidija Nikcevic, a journalist with the daily newspaper Dan, for which five people were later jailed.

EU member state Bulgaria is in 104th place in the report. "The Financial Oversight Commission, a government agency, has in practice been turned into a media cop. Imposing fines and ordering journalists to reveal their sources, it clearly betrays a government desire to silence media that dare to point out problems in banks and the regulatory system," the report says about Bulgaria.

Kosovo is ranked 87th, dropping seven places since last year. Albania is ranked higher in 82nd place, slightly better than the 85th place it had the previous year. Serbia is in 67th position, a fall from the 54th place it had one year ago. Like last year, Bosnia and Herzegovina is in 66th position.

The best ranked countries in the region this year are Romania, ranked in 52nd place, and Croatia, ranked 58th.

In global terms, the World Press Freedom Index again places the three Scandinavian countries of Finland, Norway and Denmark in the top three places.

At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea are marked as the worst performers.

France is ranked 38th, up one place, the United States 49th, down three places, Japan is 61st, down two places, while Russia is 152th, down four places. China is in 176th place, which is down one place.


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