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News 27 Mar 13

Prominent Macedonian Journalist Dies in Crash

Nikola Mladenov, a prominent journalist and owner of the weekly Fokus, has died in a car crash, the authorities confirmed; journalists' union pays tribute to 'pillar of freedom'.

 
Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Nikola Mladenov

Macedonian police said Mladenov died near Skopje’s Hipodrom suburb on the Veles-Skopje highway. The accident was on Tuesday evening.

Police found his dead body on Wednesday in his overturned car that had landed in a ditch near the highway.

The police launched a search after his family reported him missing.

Mladenov, 49, will be remembered as one of the most prominent Macedonian journalists and as fierce critic of the political class that has led Macedonia since its independence.

He was the founder and owner of the most popular political weekly in the country, Fokus, and of the daily newspaper with the same name.

He recently criticised reform of Macedonian libel laws, which decriminalized libel but introduced tough fines for journalists in civil procedures.

"For the first time in its history, the law has forced Fokus to employ self-censorship because we simply do not have money to risk lawsuits," Mladenov told 24 Vesti last month.

“His tragic departure represents a big loss for Macedonian journalism," the Independent Union of Macedonian Journalists wrote in a tribute.

"Mladenov was not only pioneer of Macedonian pluralism and supporter of the freedom of expression. He was a pillar of freedom,” the union added.

 

 

 

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