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OSCE Condemns Threats against FT Balkan Correspondent

October 2, 2018
OSCE condemns “irresponsible” tweet by the journalist of the Macedonian state news agency.
OSCE Media Representative Harlem Desir. Photo: EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, has condemned as “shameful and unacceptable” threats made online against the Balkan correspondent of the Financial Times.

The OSCE was responding to a Twitter post by Cvetin Cilimanov, journalist of the MIA state news agency and deputy head of the Macedonian Journalists Association, MAN.

“Tweet threatening journalist Valerie Hopkins is shameful and unacceptable,” said OSCE Media Representative Harlem Desir. “All threats against journalists, especially gender-based incitements to violence against female journalists, are irresponsible.”

Hopkins spent several days in Skopje covering Sunday’s referendum on whether to change the country’s name to resolve a decades-long dispute with Greece and open the door to eventual NATO and European Union accession.

Cilimanov tweeted: “To all taxi drivers following me, if this one gets in your car it’s time for uncle Kumplung” – a reference to a character in a 1990s film with a taxi driver who beats and rapes women.

The OSCE called on Cilimanov to “immediately” remove the tweet, but it was still visible at the time this story was published.

Cilimanov is well-known for his online criticism of Western officials and ambassadors in Macedonia. He was one of the founders of a campaign in Macedonia against liberal US philanthropist George Soros, which targeted BIRN’s Skopje office among others.

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