Journalist and political activist Bogdan Ilievski, who was persecuted by the Zaev regime as one of the organizers of the protests against him, now faces pressure from the ZNM and SSNM associations of journalists. These two organizations are calling for a criminal investigation into Ilievski, because in a Facebook comment he criticized a journalist for her excessive use of the imposed name “North” Macedonia.

This time it’s not SDSM that is persecuting me, but it’s ZNM and SSNM. But to the people this may look very similar, Ilievski said in an interview with Republika that will be published tomorrow.

Ilievski shared a screen capture of the interview that TV24 journalist Lepa Dzundeva did with Greek parliamentarian Angelos Sirigos. The interview was conducted as Greece was angrily reacting against the swearing in ceremony of Macedonian President Gordana Siljanovska – Davkova, who refused to use the imposed name. But for her part, the journalist was using it extensively during the interview. Ilievski did not comment other than to write the words “But, why?”, as in “why do you keep calling your country with a name that is rejected by the large majority of the citizens.

As is common in social media debates, some commentators wrote disparaging and even insulting comments in their replies to the Facebook post. According to ZNM and SSNM, Ilievski should be held liable for comments othe rcitizens made in response to something he wrote. This is a new request even for the restrictive climate in Macedonia, where the outgoing SDSM – DUI Government routinely sent the police to the homes of citizens who wrote critical comments against a Government official on Facebook. But even with this practice in mind, it’s unheard of to prosecute a person for comments someone else made in response to his comment.

ZNM and SSNM insist that Ilievski had intent to stir up hatred toward the journalist. In a follow upt statement, they clarified that they want the police to investigate the other persons making comments in response to Ilievski, but this came after days in which pro-SDSM media outlets were insisting that Ilievski is the one who should be under investigation for “hate speech”. Ilievski pointed out that there were calls for him to be “burnt at the stake” in response to a Facebook post made by ZNM.