Gianluca Costantini
Political Comics

Lepa Djundeva

Lepa Djundeva, a reporter for privately owned channel TV 24, has received dozens of social media messages with nationalistic slurs, sexist and misogynistic comments, and threats of sexual and physical violence since June 3, 2024, according to a statement by the independent trade group Association of Journalists of Macedonia and the journalist, who spoke with CPJ.

The threats began after Bogdan Ilievski, a columnist for news website, published an eight-second video excerpt of Djundeva’s June 3 interview with a Greek member of parliament on his Facebook page and his outlet posted the same excerpt on its website critical of Djundeva for using the country’s internationally acknowledged name—North Macedonia. CPJ’s social media messages to Ilievski did not receive a reply.

“North Macedonia authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the threats received by journalist Lepa Djundeva and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Attila Mong, CPJ’s Europe representative. “Threatening a journalist because of her coverage is completely unacceptable, and police must show they take Djundeva’s situation seriously and ensure her safety.”

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia filed a criminal complaint with the police on behalf of Dzhundeva but has not received an update as of June 28, 2024, the association’s senior researcher Milan Spirovski told CPJ.

The North Macedonia name dispute was a long-standing disagreement between Greece and its northern neighbor after the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, when the newly independent Balkan state called itself the Republic of Macedonia—the name Greece also claimed for its own northern region. After years of talks and many protests, Greece and Macedonia settled on the formal name of the Republic of North Macedonia in 2018; however, the name continues to be controversial.

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia and the trade group Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers condemned the threats against Djundeva’s safety in a June 12 statement and called on Ilievski to publicly apologize for framing Djundeva with “a very clear intention to expose her in a negative context.”

Six regional press freedom groups operating in the Western Balkans asked the North Macedonia Ministry of Internal Affairs, which oversees the police, to “take immediate and decisive action against those responsible for the threats” in a June 7 statement. Continue

Greece / Macedonia

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