The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) condemned the threats and the insults that employees of Skopje’s public enterprise for communal hygiene “Komunalna higiena – Skopje” (KHS) hurled at Meta news agency’s journalist Ilinka Iljoska in Kisela Voda in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. The incident occured on Monday, the 15th of August 2022.
“AJM urges Komunalna higiena – Skopje to start a disciplinary procedure against the offenders for the verbal attack against journalist Ilinka Iljoska. We also urge the enterprise to produce an action plan for the education of the employees on the public interest and their interaction with the citizens, since this is not the first time when Komunalna higiena – Skopje reacted in this or similar manner towards the citizens,“AJM’ reaction reads.
According to what Iljoska shared with us, on Monday when she went to work, she photographed the scattered garbage in the park in front of the building where she lives and the brooms at the garbage container. Then employees of “Komunalna higiena – Skopje”, which had been in the park at distance, noticed her taking photographs and approached her.
(The photographs Iljoska took, that incited the verbal attack. Photo credit: Meta.mk)
“When I arrived at the bus stop, one man in civilian clothes and one street cleaner crossed the street and came to me. The man in civilian clothes introduced himself as the foreman after which I also identified myself by name and surname and I told him that I work with Meta news agency and said: ‘How can I help you? ‘” Iljoska explains.
The man who identified himself as an employee of KHS demanded that the journalist delete the photos and argued loudly with her, telling her she must not take photographs ever again. Iljoska replied that she photographed in a public space and that there was no notice that photographing is forbidden.
“He told me that he knows who I am and that another crew, engaged by the municipal government to mow the grass, also knows about me and that they take photos of me whenever I complain that they do not do their job. They told me that I will see what will happen next time I walk my dog’. They argued with me until the bus arrived and they told me at the end: Now go on the bus and do not act like this anymore”, our colleague’s statement reads.
Ilinka Iljoska, scared for her safety and the safety of her family got legal counsel from AJM and later lodged a complaint at police station for the incident that took place on the 15th of August 2022.
“Not only that I do not feel safe, but I am also scared that they might poison my pet. I am afraid that my children are also in danger, because they often walk our dog. This is not the first this happens. Earlier, on many occassions they yelled at me and had complained to their superiors when I photographed them idling. But the latest incident was the first time someone dared to come to me and demanded harshly to delete my photographs and threatened that something could happen to me if I continue doing my job. Not only that they know who I am, they know precisely where I live,” the journalist explains.