Journalist Ivor Mickovski says he was fired from the pro-Government Telma TV station after his outspoken criticism of Zoran Zaev and SDSM. He dismissed the claim by Telma manager Atanas Kirovski that he allegedly left himself after being rebuked for slacking on the job.

They are mocking me. Kirovski did not have courage to speak to my face and sent the editor in chief to deliver the message, and now brazenly lies in public, trying to portray me as a bad employee and ingrate. I’m neither of those two things, and least of all a liar. I regret that my colleagues have to endure this situation, but those who dare speak out are degraded. It’s not only that I was degraded and humiliated, but something far more important, the labour, livelihood and free thinking of a journalist is being violated, Mickovski said.

“A popular sport when you’re in the Government – racketeer and release”, Mickovski wrote recently accusing the Government of taking money from businessmen it charged with corruption in exchange for dropping the charges or amnesty. “We introduced the Special Prosecutor’s Office as an foreign cure for our sick organism, meant to cure us, but the rotten politics discarded this bitter pill. Now we stay sick, and collapse as a country, the rule of law collapses, the public was lied to. All you did was a coup”, Mickovski also wrote recently, condemning the SDSM take over of power under the guise of “justice for all”. These comments, and many like them, were not well received in circles close to the Government.

The decision to fire Mickovski comes after Telma manager Atanas Kirovski warned his staff not to post political comments on their social media accounts. Mickovski was once an official of the SDSM party, but does not sit well with the current SDSM leadership led by Zoran Zaev. He was also outspoken in his criticism of VMRO-DPMNE, DUI and other political parties.

In his statement, whose veracity Mickovski denies, Kirovski claimed that the move was not driven by politics.” The editor in chief had warned Mickovski to focus more on his work. His departure from Telma was by his own choice. I’ve always thought highly of him and treated him as my own child”, Kirovski insisted.

I may be outspoken, I may be grumpy, but me and a fist full of people have given up our anonimity and we try to articulate wider societal criticism. I’m sometimes hysterical, I can insult people, but I do so as a free man, who can be wrong, but will be all the more wrong if I remain silent. Every Government has a thin skin, and everybody wants you to be on board their ship, to given them support. That won’t happen with me. Most people may submit, but not all, Mickovski wrote after announcing his firing from Telma.