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OSCE Concerned About Media Freedom in Macedonia, Russia

FILE - OSCE logo.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) expressed concern Tuesday about implementation of the lustration process in the case of a journalist in Macedonia.

In a letter to Data Verification Commission President Tome Adziev, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović said that she did not question the concept of lustration, but added that the judicial process that can lead to restrictions should not be used “as a tool to suppress critical voices.”

The Macedonian commission said Jadranka Kostova, the editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Fokus, acted as a secret services informant from 1993 to 1996.

“Taking into account that Fokus already is under pressure, including a number of civil defamation lawsuits,” Mijatović wrote, “…the commission’s decision could be seen as pressuring the magazine, endangering the media outlet and, consequently, having a chilling effect on media freedom” in Macedonia.

Also Tuesday, Mijatović welcomed the sentencing of two people for the murder of a newspaper editor in August 2009 in the Russian Republic of Dagestan.

Abdulmalik Akhmedilov, a deputy editor of the Makhachkala-based daily Hakikat and the chief editor of the Sogratl newspaper, was shot dead in Makhachkala. He was a critic of federal and local law enforcement officials for violating human rights in the fight against extremists. One person convicted of the murder received 10.5 years in prison while the other is to serve eight years.

Mijatović also took note of reports that the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has identified the individual who led the murder in 2000 of Igor Domnikov, a Novaya Gazeta journalist.

“I hope that the authorities will do their utmost to investigate and solve all remaining cases of attacks on journalists in Russia,” said Mijatović.

The OSCE media freedom representative said she would follow the cases closely, since they are of paramount importance to free expression and free media.