Last night appeared videos of “secret” meetings between Gruevski and Zaev, on which is heard that SDSM leader said that he received the material he has from foreign services.
Media were immediately in doubt whether the footages should be published and, further, what if SDSM starts with the publication of the “bomb”? Will it do it through the media and whether they can and are allowed to publish information with supposedly “sensitive” character?
Judging from previous statements, it is a matter of materials with sensitive content, and some of them are perhaps with a degree of classification (confidentiality), especially if there is truth in that the documents which contain the names of holders of the highest public offices.
No law provides any penalty to a journalist for reported statement, but is it possible in such a situation the media to face any consequences or censorship?
At the press conference on Saturday, opposition leader Zoran Zaev announced that the evidence for, as he said, criminal rule of Gruevski, will be released to the public. Zaev didn’t specify when and how will the material be disclosed. He just said it will be “in accordance with a well-conceived strategy.”
According to Professor of Law Gordan Kalajdziev, democratic practice knows no censorship of such information. For him, though, last night’s footage is controversial and bad regardless if it was made by the police or a third party.
– There may be obstacles for publication if the material contains parts of the private life or classified information. If released by the opposition and journalists report on them, according to the practice in normal states, they should not bear any consequences – says Kalajdziev.
Professor Osman Kadriu of FON says that, depending on the material, there is a possibility the “bomb” to be censored.
– If secret and classified information are concerned, even though the Constitution prohibits it, the publication may be prohibited under other laws – said Kadriu.
Macedonian Association of Journalists (MAJ) called on all its members, as well as all the media, to get informed for the recommendations of the European Union for monitoring and reporting on the case “Puch” and to comply with the recommendations of the European Union that were released yesterday.
They say that the journalist and the media know that the mere possession of secretly recorded conversations is a crime, that they are part of the criminal proceedings and their every publication is complicity, as well as the extension of the crime under Article 151, which refers to the illegal wiretapping and audio recording, and in relation to Article 152, which refers to the unauthorized recording.
– We ask the media to respect the law, leaving the experts and the court to determine the authenticity of those footages and responsibility for those who illegally created the footages, or perhaps, arranged and distributed them to the public – say from MAJ.
At the press conference, Zaev said that the services under control of Gruevski monitored thousands of citizens.
Gruevski, however, in his address to public, stated:
– At the first meeting, Zaev told me that urgently requests a technical government and that foreign intelligence service provided him with recorded telephone conversations with the highest state officials, such as the President, ministers, MPs, journalists and many others.
MOI accuses Zoran Verushevski for gathering “documents, photographs and names of persons and other data pertaining to socio-political, economic and security conditions in Macedonia, with the intention to announce them and hand them over to a foreign country, organization or person in their service.”
– Threats will not prevent us to publish evidence that Gruevski and those around him, with their services, followed thousands of citizens, violating their privacy. Evidence is obtained from concerned citizens, not by foreign services, as Gruevski said. It is true that the evidence is from offices in Macedonia under the control of Gruevski. There are honest people and patriots who love their country – said Zaev.
Article 4 of Law on Media
- It is forbidden to threaten national security with the publication, i.e. broadcasting of program content in the media, to encourage the violent overthrow of the constitutional order of the Republic of Macedonia, to calls on military aggression or armed conflict, to encourage or spread discrimination, intolerance or hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality.
Article 3 of Law on Media
- The freedom of the media may be limited only in accordance with the Constitution.
Article 16 of Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia
- Freedom of religion, conscience, thought and public expression of thought is guaranteed.
- Freedom of speech, public address, public information and the establishment of institutions for public information is guaranteed.
- Free access to information, freedom to receive and transmit impart information is guaranteed.
- The right of reply in the media is guaranteed. The right to a correction in the media is guaranteed. The right to protect a source of information in the media is guaranteed.
- Censorship is prohibited.