The government exerts pressure on the media whose editorial policy it disagrees with, using the Public Prosecutor’s Office. There is no other way to interpret the criminal procedure initiated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office against “Republika”. Fortunately, there are still judges who judge according to the law. “Republika” won the court case with which an attempt was made to punish the media twice for the same offense, which is contrary to law.

The first punishment was also tendentious when the Directorate for Personal Data Protection handed down a fine for publishing the name and surname and working engagement of a person performing public work. Weekly magazine “Republika” at the time published the public activities of public figures. It is as if we had published that Kire Lazarov is a handball player … But “Republika” was punished for it. At the same time, the amount of money that some of the persons received as compensation for their engagement was published, or it was pointed out that they were on certain payroll. These are people who represent themselves as professors and political analysts, journalists, human rights activists, president of the Helsinki Committee … People who perform public work and who are part of various debates, from public gatherings where they hold speeches, send messages, photograph and publish their own photos of their participation in those gatherings. The fine is in the amount of 1,800 euros for the medium and 550 euros for the director, ie a fine of 2,350 euros (about 150,000 denars). This is the first time the Directorate pronounces a fine for a medium, and “Republika” was fined for publishing personal data (names, surnames, work engagements, and monetary compensation), which have been already published in other media for the most part.

After the fine from the Directorate for Personal Data Protection, another fine for the same offense followed. The court, without any notification and invitation to the defendant, without a single court
hearing, pronounced another fine for the same offense. And not just that. The court also pronounced imprisonment for the responsible person i.e. the director of the medium, who at the same time is the owner, for a period of 3 months, conditionally not to commit another offense for up to a year, because the medium has published persons from the public life with full name and surname and information about their work engagement. Let’s be clear. The persons mentioned do not deny the
content of the text, nor the information that has been published. They did not file a lawsuit for slander and insult. The publishing of their personal names is being judged.

The fine came after the prosecution accepted the criminal charges from the mentioned persons. Although “Republika” has already paid a fine which is also tendentious, the prosecution demanded a second punishment for the same offense… in translation, it is an attempt to silence the media. A court procedure was initiated. Although it was pointed out that it was a misdemeanor for which a fine has already been paid, the prosecution decided to go to the end. The court made a decision to release the media from the charges. The costs of the criminal procedure are borne by the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia. The costs will be paid to the lawyers representing the media and its responsible person, but also to the lawyers of the allegedly damaged persons – in the case Ljubomir Frckoski’s wife, Irena Frckoska. Frckoski was also involved. The Government’s attempt to silence the media and exert pressure on it go at the expense of the state budget.

Will responsibility be taken by the prosecutor who, although is well aware that there cannot be two punishments for the same offense, did not withdraw in order not to create costs that would be on the state budget, that is, the money of the citizens?! Why the prosecutor did not withdraw at the moment when he realized (it is a question of whether he had not previously been informed that a fine had already been paid) that there is no basis for initiating such a procedure?!

It seems that the government has one goal – to silence and shut down any medium that is not on their side and is critical of their work. Does this sound normal, democratic, libertarian ?! Is this the LIFE that was sought and that was promised?!