The closing of A2TV Station shows Press Freedom is still in decline in FYROM

“This act is warning to all other TV stations that promote debate and freedom of speech as the pillar of democracy. It is a signal that they could face guillotine as well, if outside the frame, designed by the system,” writes Xhelal Neziri in Lajm regarding the recent scandalous closing of the A2TV Station in FYROM.

The new blast to Press Freedom sparked a huge uproar in FYROM. The  US embassy in Skopje reacted with a press-release to the closing of A2TV.

The embassy says that it agrees that all media should respect the legal duties, but A2 is the first medium that is closed due to such reasons. The embassy also requires the law to be implemented equally for all TV stations.

A similar reaction and an appeal that the law should apply equally to all came from the Association of Journalists in FYROM. 

According to them, the Broadcasting Council should not have suspended the license of the A2 television channel. Not honoring the program format is not a good enough reason for suspending a TV channel’s license.

If the Broadcasting Council had done the same with respect to all, there would not have been a TV channel left in the country, stated the President of the Association, Naser Selmani.

The Recent closing of A2TV forced also the  European Commission to raise strong concerns.

“We are going to monitor what happens next to this television, especially bearing in mind that the freedom of speech in media is one of the items in the High-Level Accession Dialogue,” stated Peter Stano, the spokesman for Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule.

In FYROM, closing of  media who criticize the nationalistic government of N. Gruevski is a common phenomenon.

Last year the TV station A1 and three daily newspapers in FYROM, Shpic, Vreme and Koha e Re, have been forced to close down after falling into debt.

However this caused severe criticism against FYROM for complete lack of Press freedom. International critics for the lack of FYROM’s press freedom underlined that all these media were victims of a government policy to reduce media outlets critical of prime minister Nikola Gruevski.

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