The move to “out” gay journalists in Macedonia is only the latest bizarre twist in the media – as a competition to outdo a recent spoof interview in Serbia appeared to spiral out of control.
“We are calling on our readers to tell us the names of [suspected gay] journalists and pass on their experiences,” Vecer wrote on Thursday.
For its part, the newspaper named the editor of the daily Vest, Goran Mihajlovski, the editor of the Libertas news portal, Aco Kabranov and the editor of the celebrity magazine Krema, Zoran Vasilevski. The newspaper also published their pictures on its front page.
Kabranov said he intended to sue the daily, even though “I know the lawsuit will get stuck somewhere in a court drawer”.
The episode started when Vest on Wednesday asked people decide which Macedonian female journalist, or famous figure, should interview the Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, without wearing any underwear.
The idea was a spinoff of events in neighbouring Serbia, where a recent video shows the Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic being pranked by a model with no underwear on, posing as an interviewer.
The spoof interview has attracted attention across the region, prompting Macedonian newspapers to wonder who might best do the same thing there.
High on the list of proposed persons was Ivona Talevska, editor-in-chief of the pro-government Vecer, who apparently did not welcome such attention, and has also announced a lawsuit against Vest, for slander.
As a result, Vest removed the readers’ poll on Wednesday, complaining that it had come under “unexpected pressure” to do so.
Meanwhile, the TV journalist Olivera Trajkovska, who was also included in the poll, told
Libertas that it was a shame that such a “witty” poll had been removed due to conservative pressure.
She would have ranked at least among the top three, and her colleague Talevska would most probably have won, she said.