Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski announced that the police has initiated procedures against five people over hate speech after the fatal bus crash on Wednesday, and he implied that one of them is professor Biljana Vankovska, a critic of the Government.

Vankovska wrote on her Facebook account that it is tragic and ironic that the accident happened near Karpalak, the site of the 2001 ambush by the Albanian UCK terrorist group which killed 10 Macedonian army reservists. Albanian readers took offense at the statement and Spasovski declared it hate speech despite Vankovska’s claim that she sees nothing offensive in the comment and that it was meant to express empathy for all victims.

But the Ministry has not acted in the case of one of its outspoken supporters. Left wing journalist and commentator Branko Trickovski has repeatedly made explicit threats against politicians and activists on the right, and the Interior Ministry has not applied the same standards it applies against critics of the Government.

Trickovski’s latest comment was written after the ceremony to raise the NATO flag in front of the now nameless Government building, a ceremony which President Gjorge Ivanov did not attend after, as his office informed, the invitation from the Government was sent only once the event was over.

Horhe (Ivanov) did not attend the NATO flag raising ceremony in front of the Government of North Macedonia. But, he will attend it when he is impaled on the flagpole, Trickovski wrote on his Twitter account, and days later his post is still up.

During the SDSM led Colored Revolution, when protesters were warning conservative officials with bomb sounds – “tick tock, you are finished” – Trickovski would routinely threaten then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Ivanov, later switching to threats aimed at VMRO leader Hristijan Mickoski. When asked about the unequal treatment of public discourse, Trickovski claimed that his comments are “aesthetic prose”.

And yet, actor and opposition activist Toni Mihajlovski, who once responded to one of Trickovski’s hateful comments in kind, has faced criminal charges for hate speech. Mihajlovski said that his response was made in order to show what public discourse would turn into if everybody would begin using the same “aesthetic prose” Trickovski does and the Public Prosecutor’s Office chose to go after the opposition activist, but not the pro-Government commentator.