Reporters Without Borders, n-ost and Civil-Center for Freedom demand the immediate release of Macedonian journalist Tomislav Kezarovski. Although Kezarovski was released from his questionable imprisonment last year after a few months, he is right now under house-arrest. There will be an appeal verdict on Friday, October 24, which could lead to Kezarovski`s renewed imprisonment.
“We call for the immediate release of Kezarovski and we demand that the authorities drop the absurd charges against him. Kezarovski committed one mistake: he was critical of the Macedonian authorities. But we do not believe that it is a fault. On the contrary, Kezarovski has been nominated for the Reporters Without Borders 2014 prize for his courageous work”, says Christian Mihr, the executive director of Reporters Without Borders Germany. “The protection of critical journalists must be a strong condition for any future accession of Macedonia to the European Union.”
“Journalists in Macedonia need security and they need laws that protect them and their work and that to do not hinder them”, says Xhabir Deralla, head of the Macedonian Civil-Center for Freedom.
In 2008, Kezarovski wrote an article for the newspaper “Reporter92“ in which he quoted from an internal police document that had been leaked to him. Five years later, in May 2013, he was suddenly detained. The authorities argued that Kezarovski in 2008 had published the identity of a protected witness. However, at the time of the article the witness was not part of the witness protection scheme. He also admitted that he had made his testimony because of police pressure. Kezarovski himself believes that the police detained him because they wanted to find out the source who had given him the internal document.
The European Union criticizes Macedonia in its current progress report published in October 2014. The EU criticizes, that state institutions don`t advertise in independent media outlets and that the defamation laws are regularly misused. However, the report fails to mention the fate of individuals such as Tomislaw Kezarovski.
In recent years the situation of the press in Macedonia deteriorated badly. In 2009, Macedonia ranked on the Reporters Without Borders Index of Press Freedom on place 34. By 2014, the country dropped to rank 123 out of 180 countries.