Macedonian Journalist Returns Awards in Protest

Zoran Ivanov said he was returning his journalistic prizes and quitting journalism after 40 years in protest against the growing politicisation and subversion of the media.Ivanov’s move comes after he was sacked from Alfa TV on Wednesday, and after the new Serbian owners of the former critically inclined outlet changed the editorial policy.

“Vulgar daily politics have bought and occupied the entire Macedonian media and journalistic space. It has turned it into a cartel-like propaganda machine and it oppresses and humiliates journalists,” veteran journalist and editor Ivanov wrote in an open letter to the public on Thursday.

He was now quitting journalism after some 40 years in the profession, he said, feeling that journalism in the country had hit rock bottom.

“Macedonian journalism has lost its meaning. It has become an extension of the politics of the ruling party’s propaganda centre,” he added.

Among other prizes, Ivanov said he was returning three “Mito Hadzivasilev- Jasmin” state awards for achievements in literature and journalism, two “Krste Petkov Misirkov” awards for best journalist of the year and a lifetime achievement award.

“With an apology and all due respect to the juries, I am returning all my journalistic awards,” he said.

Ivanov was the TV station’s former editor-in-chief, but resigned from the post in January after it became clear that Alfa was preparing to change its editorial policy and after his political debate show, “Word by Word”, was pulled. Although he left the top post, he stayed on at the station till Wednesday.

The excuse for the layoff was that there was allegedly not enough work for Ivanov in the TV station.

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