Another incident with Government officials pressuring the press happened today. After DUI party leader Ali Ahmeti lashed out at the critical Alfa and Telma TV stations, only to be seconded by Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, today Economy Minister Kreshnik Bekteshi also went after critical journalists.

Bekteshi was confronted by a Telma TV journalist who asked him about the suspicious contracts that the Government is making to import natural gas through a Bulgarian company, instead of the usual supplier Makpetrol (the owner of Telma TV). The Bulgarian contract has a fixed price, while Makpetrol offers prices that will fluctuate with the markets – and the fixed price option has cost Macedonia millions so far as gas prices have dipped below the agreed price.

Bekteshi first accused a Kanal 5 TV journalist of coordinating with Telma TV journalists to ask questions about the natural gas price. “You’re asking the questions they want you to ask”.

You are not invited here to give comments or to ask questions. If you think you can make comments in the press center.. you can do that in your TV shows instead, invite the people you want to ask this and debate it there, Bekteshi told the Telma TV journalist.

His move was met with strong criticism from the media regulator AVMU, as well as with reactions from associations of journalists. “The unseemly behavior from Bekteshi toward the Kanal 5 journalist is absolutely unacceptable”, AVMU said in a statement.