The Balkan Civil Society Development Network is concerned with recent developments threatening the freedom of expression and association in North Macedonia. The most recent attack on the freedom of expression happened on 10 November, when a lawsuit against a prominent investigative journalism outlet, the Investigative Reporting Lab (IRL), received a disconcerting verdict in a defamation case. This case is a blatant example of a SLAPP – strategic lawsuit against public participation, which aims to intimidate a critical voice into silence.
As a regional network with a history of advocating for an enabling environment for civil society development, we recognize the harmful impact of this verdict and express deep concerns.
We urge regional and international stakeholders, who have long supported the development of a functional democracy in the country, to stand with civil society and media representatives. It is crucial to address these corrosive implications before further damage occurs.
Read the full reaction HERE.