Historian, analyst and blogger Harald Schenker, who has lived in Macedonia since 1999 and is now moving to Switzerland, created social network buzz with his farewell post, addressed to a “failing Macedonia”, in which he provides a diagnosis for the country's demise and a plea for rebuilding Macedonian society. The article now has over 900 likes on Facebook and has been shared on Twitter over 80 times.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Macedonia
On Thursday, June 6, in the center of Skopje, the Movement Against Police Brutality will mark two years since the murder of Martin Neshkovski, which sparked massive grassroots protests in Macedonia in the summer of 2011. The Facebook event [mk] about the memorial service states:
On Thursday, June 6, at 11 AM, we shall visit the crime scene and light a symbolic candle to remind us that we allowed ourselves to lose a young life. May he be remembered!
During the gathering the “Stop Police Brutality” Movement will hold a press conference to present activities marking its second anniversary. Additionally, we shall express support for the Turkish people who mount bloody resistance to police brutality these days. [...]
Macedonian journalists gathered [mk; video and text: sq, mk] in front of the Criminal Court in the capital Skopje today to protest against the arrest of their colleague, Tomislav Kezarovski, according to this note [en] posted in the Macedonian Facebook group titled “Journalists and citizens in defense of the right to freedom of information.” It appears that the official reason for Kezarovski's 30-day detention is a story he wrote five years ago for a publication that no longer exists. On the other hand, he has been investigating the death of Nikola Mladenov, publisher and editor of an independent media outlet, for the past two months. More »
“Practice indicates that responsible and ethical journalism is never the result of state legislation and regulations, but of the voluntary compliance with the code created by the media community itself.”
This statement from the Guide on Ethics in Journalism [mk] opens Žarko Trajanoski's analysis [en] of the “manipulations” by Macedonia's “pro-government journalists” who “fanatically support and promote [the proposed Media Law].” The English-language version of Trajanovski's text was published by Metamorphosis: Foundation for Internet and Society (@fmeta), and it is also available in Macedonian and in Albanian. One of Trajanoski's conclusions is that “the most vigorous advocates for the adoption of a new Media Law since 2011 are exactly the journalists and editors flagrantly violating the ethical norms of the journalist code.”
This month, Rob Martineau, Tom Stancliffe, and Guy Hacking are running 1,000 miles from Odessa to Dubrovnik, via Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Croatia, as part of the Run For Love 1000 campaign, whose aim is to raise funds for Love146, a UK charity that “gives care and hope to trafficked children, and to raise awareness of the scale of human trafficking across Europe.” Follow their run on the RFL1000 website, on Facebook, and on Twitter; support the runners by donating here (215 donations have been made so far, with nearly £12,500 raised).
The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) explains [en] why Macedonian journalists are demanding an open debate “on the scope and the contents” of the draft Law on the Media (via @Macedonia_en):
[...] It was prepared, in its entirety, by the Government and is offered today to the public to give its comments and suggestions as a final and closed concept. [...] we do need changes in the legislation to incorporate the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive and we need improved and strengthened implementation of the existing legislation. Any expansion of the scope of the regulation needs to be preceded by a serious debate on the very need to introduce new regulation. [...]
In order to shed light on the events of Dec. 24, 2012, when journalists and opposition MPs were thrown out of the Macedonian Parliament [en, es, mk], Foundation Open Society Institute Macedonia (@fosim) published a study entitled “Black Monday” [.pdf: en, mk, sq], with testimonies of witnesses and participants and analyses by relevant experts. Video from its promotion, with an extensive discussion, is also available online [mk].
GV Author Filip Stojanovski, on his blog Razvigor, has translated into English a mock story [sr] by Njuz.net, “the Serbian equivalent to The Onion,” about the UK striving to join “the Un-European Union”:
The Council of Ministers of the countries of the Un-European Union stated today in Skopje that a long road lies ahead of United Kingdom in order for it to join this international organisation. [...]
The Macedonian translation of the story is here.
More » A prominent Macedonian sports journalist
An online initiative against media manipulations [mk] perpetrated by the state-owned Macedonian Information Agency (MIA) asks citizens to express their dissatisfaction by sending e-mails to the agency. The action was spurred by the latest example of blatant spin, when a MIA correspondent distorted U.S. diplomat Philip Reeker‘s statement about the disappointment with the Balkan leaders, making it appear as if he referred to the Macedonian opposition. Reeker repudiated this in a statement [mk] for the critical portal Libertas, clarifying that he alluded to leaders who are actually in power and are backsliding from democracy. Libertas also claims the government and MIA declined to comment afterwards.
Activists of the civic initiative AMAN [mk] continue to fight for a better energy legislation [mg, fr, mk, es], despite pressure and infiltrations. In November, “unknown persons” prevented them from talking to PM Gruevski [mk] at an “open meeting with citizens.” Currently, there's an ongoing signature-gathering campaign for the change of the law (the deadline is January 31, 2013), and AMAN has posted this announcement [mk]:
The “Beer Belly” blog celebrated [mk, mk] its first anniversary. Its author @Twibi thanked members of the Macedonian Twitter community who have been bringing him beer samples from their trips all over the world to review. So far, he has made 198 posts about beers from 20 countries, including Kenya [mk], thanks to the local GV Summit 2012 participants – @ieli and @bjasari.
Twelve Macedonian women – regular Twitter users – took part in a humanitarian project organized by @IlinaBookbox, two photographers and one designer via the hashtag #ТвитерКалендар (Macedonian for ‘Twitter Calendar'). The resulting nude art calendar was donated to anti-cancer association Borka [wallpapers available via mk, mk, sq]. The original photos are on sale through the exhibition in Lee Cafe in Skopje [mk], and all proceedings will be donated to charity.
Continuing the tradition that started last year (en, mk, nl, es), the Macedonian Twitter community has erected a new Christmas Tree made of plastic bottles (mk, mk, photos 1, 2, 3) in Skopje City Park in order to raise awareness of the importance of recycling. The event was again organized around the hashtag #елкамк (Macedonian for ‘fir tree mk') and open source instructions [mk], announced [mk] three weeks in advance by several bloggers. The tree will be purchased by a local recycling company and the money donated to charity.
[...] Several months ago, several right-wing political parties including the ruling party running the Government of RM paid respects to the organizer of these assassinations, [Todor Aleksandrov]. They organized several Orthodox Christian memorial services in his honor, attended by at least one governmental minister. They even built an EUR 73.000 equestrian monument dedicated to him in Skopje [...], and sang а song about him during party celebration. However, not a word about the victims. [...]
Responding to an assertion by Gerald Knaus…
Athens and Skopje face a [prisoner's dilemma]: if neither side believes that a solution is possible, and acts on this, both will lose.
…Zarko Trajanoski wrote on Facebook:
However, the analogy with “prisoner's dilemma” is not only false, but very offensive: Athens is not a prisoner, but a prison guard and perhaps a political torturer in this case. And the outcome of this political torture, aided by Sofia as well, is the rise of the Macedonian ethno-nationalism and the decline of the liberalism, democracy and human rights.
Fifteen young journalists from six different countries have produced a series of personal stories about representatives of the minorities (in a broad sense) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, and Macedonia. The stories are available in English, German, and French on the Face the Balkans website.
Dozens of bloggers [sr] from Serbia, as well as from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia, attended Blogomanija [sr], a regional blogging conference that was held in Serbia on Dec. 7-9. Among other things, they discussed [sr] the impact of blogs and social networks on social and political life in Serbia and the region.
Skopje Casual blog, run by “3 girls, showing off their daily inspirations and casual fashion from the streets of Skopje,” followed up on their previous work and posted [mk] a new list of Macedonian fashion/style blogs. Some of them, like Diario creativo and Sanja's Burgundy Blog, post original content in English. So does previously featured Angela Dissected.
On September 27, Metamorphosis: Foundation for Internet and Society issued a statement [en; mk; sq] on the draft law on civil liability for insult and defamation and its sections related to online communication, urging the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia to reject the adoption of the law in its current form.
‘The Process’ continued – the accused presented his defense in absence of ‘the brave’ plaintiff, whose attorney said he did not know his whereabouts. The Court was allegedly informed that he moved out…