The Macedonian Association of Journalist (MAN) called on Zoran Zaev to apologize for the threatening statement he made about journalist Branko Geroski, who was instrumental in publishing the initial reports about the major corruption scandal which is dragging down the Government.

In a shocking statement he made this afternoon, Zaev sad that he will not allow one vain journalist (Geroski) and one “faggot” (Bojan Jovanovski – Boki 13) to bring down his Government. Geroski asked Zaev if this is a threat, while LGBT rights activists strongly condemned the Prime Minister for using the hateful slur for homosexuals.

The Prime Minister is directly violating the articles of the law of the media and the Constitution which guarantee the freedom of expression. With his threats, he is exercising a direct political pressure, just as he was recently pressuring the institutions to provide 100.000 EUR in state funded SDSM ads broadcast on Boki 13’s 1TV television. The Macedonian Association of Journalists calls on Zoran Zaev to stop with his threats and to apologize for the statement he made. MAN reminds the Prime Minister that the Declaration on freedom of political debate in the media provides that public officials will have to accept that they will be subject to public oversight and criticism, especially in the media, about the manner in which they conduct their office, MAN said in a press release.

The AVMU Media Agency, Macedonia’s main public media regulator, also condemned the Prime Minister’s statement.

Given his public office, the Prime Minister should accept and respect the role of the journalists who are called to criticize the work of the Government, but instead he is discrediting a journalist. Instead of showing the highest level of respect for diversity, he is labeling LGBT persons in a derogatory manner. Zaev’s statement also refuses to respect the presumption of innocence. The Agency would like to remind politicians that they have an obligation to respect European standards in the freedom of expression, to respect differences and to refrain from using a language which can undermine these values, AVMU said in its press release.

Geroski wrote a series of articles detailing how a group of racketeeers that included Boki 13 is extorting money from businessmen. He also wrote extensively about leading SDSM party officials who are involved with this group and are giving it political backing, including Deputy Prime Minister Radmila Sekerinska in his reports and calling on Zaev to deal with the group or go down with it.