VIENNA, 21 October 2013 - OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed deep concern about the sentencing of journalist Tomislav Kezarovski to four and a half years in prison by the Skopje First Basic Court.
“I am appalled by today’s sentence. This excessive conviction is a worrying development and sends a clear message of censorship to other journalists in the country,” Mijatović said.
Kezarovksi, an investigative journalist at the daily Nova Makedonija has been in detention since 28 May 2013 for an article he wrote in 2008 for Reporter 92 magazine in which he allegedly revealed the identity of a witness in a murder case. He is the only journalist in detention in the entire South East Europe region.
“Today’s verdict has serious consequences for free expression and media freedom. Criminal prosecution of reporters for their journalistic activities violates the fundamental human right to free expression and the country’s OSCE commitments to develop and protect free media,” Mijatović said.
“I reiterate my call to the authorities for Kezarovski’s urgent release; and also remind them of my official request to visit him in the detention centre where he is held. I hope this request is treated as a matter of priority,” Mijatović said.
Kezarovski’s detention continues until the verdict becomes final.
The Representative has repeatedly raised concern over Kezarovski’s detention.
See below links for previous statements on this case:
31 May 2013 http://www.osce.org/fom/102198
25 July 2013 http://www.osce.org/fom/103877
29 August 2013 http://www.osce.org/fom/104456