In the middle of the negotiations for media freedom according to the Przino Agreement, we face a political attempt to shut down Vest Daily, the most popular daily newspaper in Macedonia that has the biggest circulation and highest credibility. The Editorial Board of Vest Daily is shocked and deeply worried by the decision of the management of Media Print Macedonia (MPM) to replace the Editor in Chief Mr. Goran Mihajlovski. Mr. Mihajlovski’s contract ends on December 31, 2015 and apparently the management decided not to renew it.
Mr. Mihajlovski is a founder and a head of Vest Daily for 15 years, and together with the Editorial board team, build it into the biggest and most relevant print medium in the country. He is the author of the most read and most successful weekly column in the history of the Macedonian journalism.
We suspect that the timing for political takeover of Vest Daily is deliberately set to overlap the Christmas holidays in order to avoid the public attention and especially the attention of the representatives of the international comunity in Macedonia.
The Editorial Board headed by Mr. Mihajlovski fears that the replacement is an open attempt by the Government to crush Vest as yet another strong voice that managed to give priority to the public interest rather than party and governmental interests and to promote citizen activism. So far, the Editorial Board of Vest suffered political pressure through the management of MPM for many published and unpublished stories and news, including a censored front page.
We fear that the replacement of Mr. Mihajlovski as Editor in chief would certainly be followed by the replacement of the Editorial Board and would abolish the newsroom policy guided by high standards of balanced professional journalism and protecting the public interest.
We believe that this would shut down the last traditional medium that not only gave voice to the public interest, raised hard-talk issues and broke taboos, but also promoted civil initiatives and managed to reach through all parts of the Macedonian polarized society. We believe that Macedonia very much needs a balanced traditional medium with broad reach both as a voice for citizen and public interest and as a corrective for good governance.
Sincerely, The Editorial Board of Vest Daily