Since the new legislative amendments to the Criminal Code for Hate Speech came into force in February 2014, the Skopje Criminal Court has only charged two individuals with a fine over hate speech.
The number of fines is very small in comparison to the 341 cases recorded on the digital platform “Report and Resist Hate Speech” in the same period, while police filed criminal charges in just 24 cases, reports Portalb.mk.
Given the large number of cases reported on the civilian digital platform for reporting hate speech, police are investigating hate speech at a very slow pace, while the judiciary does not punish it. Moreover, in Macedonia, especially under VMRO-DPMNE’s rule, according to a analysis by Portalbmk, hate speech is emphatic, and there were also blatant cases when certain individuals and groups publicly used hate speech, and at the same time it was not sanctioned by law enforcement agencies.
According to data provided by the news portal, during the period 2014-2018, the Criminal Court only charged two individuals and issued a fine in 2017.
In the same period, the Ministry of the Interior recorded 22 other cases of hate speech, however, none of them reached the Criminal Court.
The court convicted the two individuals under Article 181 of the Criminal Code, which envisages a fine or imprisonment of up to three years for mocking a foreign state or its top state officials.