Anonymous Threats Sent to AAAVMS Director Due to a Rejected Demand to Revoke Alsat M TV’s License

Skopje, 17 July 2023 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services wishes to inform the public that, on 13 July, an unknown person sent threatening messages to the mobile phone number of the Agency’s Director Zoran Trajchevski.

The messages were sent after the Agency had rejected a submitted anonymous Initiative for revoking the license of Alsat-M at the session held on July 11, at its Council’s session held on 11 July. The Agency reviewed the submitted Initiative, however, it was established that the links provided as alleged evidence of the owner of Alsat M TV, i.e. Ve Ve Group’s abusing the television station and exerting pressure on state institutions with the aim of pursuing its business needs, were inaccessible. Moreover, as the Initiative had been submitted as an anonymous petition, it was not possible to notify the submitter and request them to remove the flaws.

The media-related legislation clearly specifies the grounds on which a broadcasting license may be revoked from a certain radio or television station, precisely so that the action could not be made on an arbitrary basis but only in precisely defined cases.

Sending threatening messages due to an unmet demand, based on one’s personal wishes and personal interests, constitutes an individual psychological intimidation and harassment, and in this particular case, pressure and direct threat against the freedom of the media and the freedom of information and expression.

The Agency reported the case to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the other competent institutions, which it expects to swiftly resolve the case, establish the responsibility of the person who had sent the threats and sanction him/her accordingly. At the same time, it has notified the relevant international organizations as well.

We hope that cases like this will not be repeated in the future, as they affect not only the media but also the safety and security of journalists and media workers.