Freedom of the Press
Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Freedom of the press declined for a second consecutive year, as a result of increased state pressure on independent media. Article 16 of the constitution bans censorship and guarentees freedom of expression. However, Macedonian media do not always enjoy these rights in practice. Libel remains a criminal offense. In early September 2002, the Interior Ministry threatened media professionals with criminal prosecution if they "disgraced" the ruling party in the run-up to parliamentary elections. Days later, authorities filed criminal libel charges against magazine journalist Marjan Djurovski. The parliamentary campaign exposed several problems related to state influence. News coverage at state-run Macedonian Radio and Television was biased in favor of the government, a violation of existing legislation. Some private broadcasters likewise exhibited slanted political coverage; others were forcibly closed for the duration of the campaign. The government-controlled publisher Nova Makedonija drastically reduced the price of the pro-government newspaper Vecer, thereby creating an unfair advantage over the financially troubled opposition press. In one case of violence, armed activists attacked an opposition publishing house. Journalists sometimes experience harassment, arbitrary detention, and abuse at the hands of police.