The SDSM Government insisted that it will respect the press and allow maximum freedom of reporting, but these claims, given before Zoran Zaev assumed power, are difficult to mention now without mockery. In a matter of days, the Zaev Government approved significant direct payments to print media outlets which support it, in direct violation of its past position that no public money should go to media outlets, and verbally assaulted journalists from the only consistently critical TV station – Alfa TV. Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani from the DUI party, on the other hand, demanded apologies from media outlets for merely reporting a statement made by his colleague in the Government, Mila Carovska, who declared that she is investigating corruption against DUI appointed officials.

This Government is not giving money to media and is not promoting its policies, and we have no intention of doing so. That was happening when Macedonia was still a captive state. You know what kind of influence the previous Government had and maybe you are still under the influence of structures from the previous Government, said Minister Robert Popovski, when an Alfa TV journalist asked him about the recent decision to award money to media outlets who report fawningly positive stories about the Government. Unable to deny the report, Popovski decided to discriminate against Alfa TV and accuse it of having a political bias.

The Association of journalists of Macedonia (ZNM) said that this type if labeling of media outlets is unacceptable.

It does not contribute to improving the media atmosphere and to promoting European values, said ZNM. The Association also criticized Osmani for announcing criminal charges to media outlets who reported on Carovska’s allegations against DUI.

As opposition leader, Zoran Zaev publicly declared a number of media outlets, including Alfa TV, as his political enemies. After assuming power, these outlets faced numerous politically driven criminal charges and most of them altered their editorial policy to support Zaev, while one, daily Dnevnik, ceased publication.