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Macedonia9 September 2002

Threats against journalists a few days before election

Reporters Without Borders protested today against legal action taken by Macedonian interior minister Ljube Boskovski against a journalist who wrote that the government was planning to put off elections next week in a bid to stay in power. The minister has also warned he would take action against other journalists.

"It is unacceptable that journalists are the target of legal action when they are simply doing their job," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Macedonian prime minister Ljubco Georgievski. "We ask that your government drop this action immediately and that your ministers, notably Mr Boskovski, end their intimidation campaign against the independent press."

Marjan Djurovski, of the weekly Start, is being prosecuted after publishing an article on 6 September saying the country’s coalition government was planning to set off a war so it could postpone elections set for 15 September which opinion polls say it has little chance of winning.

Since 30 August, the foreign and interior ministers have publicly accused journalists and diplomats of plotting to destabilise the government. Minister Boskovski has warned that he will take all necessary steps to end this alleged conspiracy.

The government has been stirring up political and ethnic tension in recent weeks, increasing pressure on the independent media and displaying intolerance of any kind of criticism.

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Jusuf Ruzimuradov

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