10 Nov 10

Macedonia Newspaper Editor 'Fears For Safety'

The editor of a national daily is accusing the government of hounding him because of his criticism of official policies.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Skopje

Branko Geroski, editor of Spic, says he had become the target of an orchestrated attack from media close to the ruling centre-right VMRO DPMNE party, as a result of his criticism of the government.

On Monday, Geroski noted, the daily newspaper Vecer had alleged that he had obtained property for which he cannot account and which he may have obtained as a result of bribery. The daily paper also printed his home address.

“What worries me is that the people from Vecer keep publishing my address, which I see as a form of threat and as an invitation to lynch me." Geroski told Balkan Insight.

Vecer is generally seen as a pro-government newspaper.

Geroski said he had fallen foul of Nikola Gruevski's government because of his role in Citizens for a European Macedonia, an NGO that has criticized the government for not doing more to advance the country's EU membership.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Zoran Stavreski, and the VMRO DPMNE spokesman, Aleksandar Bicikliski, both attacked Geroski last week, suggesting he and other members of the NGO had been planted in the civil society sector by the opposition Social Democrats with a view to distorting the truth and defaming the government.

Responding to the allegations of harassment, a government spokesperson, Martin Martinovski, said they were "absolutely not true".

Issues concerning media freedom are among main weaknesses pinpointed in this year’s European Commission report on Macedonia, which was published on Tuesday.

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