Journalists continue to face threats and attacks
Workers’ rights were again central to many protests in the reporting period. Private bus operators blocked streets and boulevards across the capital, demanding that they be paid so that they could resume operations. The City of Skopje denied the allegations that the drivers were owed money, and the Public Transport Company claimed that all invoices had been paid.
Employees of the Drisla landfill, which is managed by the City of Skopje, spontaneously blocked the landfill as a sign of protest due to the threat of possible layoffs. While trade union representatives claimed that workers’ rights were under threat from the City of Skopje, workers from Tetovo working in the same public enterprises also protested over poor health insurance and also for not being paid their salaries.
Local issues prompted several protests around the country, such demonstrations over the lack of drinking water in the villages and poor living conditions due to lack of infrastructure. Activists and local citizens demanded an ecological and safe solution to the Vasko Karangeleski street in Skopje.
Residents of Star Karaorman protested over the ecological disaster due to uncontrolled sand extraction from the Bregalnica riverbank. By blocking the Struga—Debar road, residents of the village of Labunishta expressed their frustration over the work of two of the nine quarries in the village.
Other smaller protests also took place with a few examples as follows:
- With a protest march to the police station in Kočani, police officers supported four suspended colleagues from the Kočani Police Department.
- Patients and their parents from the Cystic Fibrosis Association protested because of the lack of medical devices and modulatory therapy.
- Students from the secondary vocational school in Tetovo protested in front of the Court and Prosecutor's Office to demand justice in the case of the murder of their classmate, a 16-year-old from Novo Selo, whose lifeless body was found on 22nd December in the Pena River near Banjice.
- After the killing of several dogs in Struga, dozens of activists and citizens protested to demand better conditions for stray animals.
The Association of Journalists of Macedonia claimed that the police grossly violated the rights of journalists to film and report on the bus blockade in Skopje, as reported under Peaceful Assembly. According to the testimony of journalist Fazile Halili from TV21, who used her mobile phone to record part of the protest when police allegedly dragged a woman, was approached by police who demanded she delete the recording and informed that she was not allowed to film.
During the reporting period, the Association of Journalists in Macedonia expressed concerns over several issues, such as the discrediting and improper labeling of media by high officials, restrictions on access for journalists to report on events, as well as various threats and insults directed to journalists.
On 10th December 2022, World Human Rights Day, the Association of Journalists in Macedonia published a new analysis entitled: Freedom of expression and the safety of journalists before the Court in Strasbourg - Analysis of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in Macedonian cases under Article 10 of the European Convention for human rights. In the analysis, special emphasis is made on the protection of the right to information through the protection of journalists, as well as the protection of the rights of citizens to be adequately informed about important topics.