Wiretapping scandal set 24: The “journalistic” bomb
This set of wiretapped conversations you are about to hear presents to us in a rather nice way the “love making” of journalists and media with the government… Often times to the level of slavish obedience. On the other hand, we hear that the editors-in-chief and media directors are the people at the VMRO-DPMNE’s top.
In the first conversation we hear Nikola Gruevski and Gordana Jankuloska deciding which reporter will be sent as correspondents to Washington and which ones to Athens…
In the following conversation between Gruevski’s chief of cabinet, Protugjer, and Gordana Jankuloska, both interlocutors disappointedly talk about the open competition for employment of journalists in the Macedonian Television (MTV). Protugjer says that they should bring dependable people, people who they know, so “half-normal” people couldn’t participate in the open competition. Jankuloska replies that they should resolve all of this with the party itself – either they will act as always, i.e. accept candidacies from the party’s committees, or they will strengthen the capacities, because both processes won’t do it together. She also says that VMRO-DPMNE must change its policy regarding all open competitions, so they won’t receive suggestions from the committees, because, as we can hear, the institutions are overpopulated…. “with useless people”. Protugjer adds that MTV’s open competition will be voided and he is going to explain to Gruevski why he decided so.
In the second conversation we hear that former journalists from the shut down A1 TV station must pass a special recruiting procedure in order to obtain a job in the MTV – they should “hand-kiss”; and we also hear how the party’s cadre personnel is the one deciding who will be employed in MTV’s Sport section.
Next, we hear a conversation regarding Radio Gostivar’s bankruptcy and Gruevski’s instructions for Janakieski to “dig” this case “a bit”. After that, we hear Protugjer pulling strings with Kanal 5’s owner so they won’t republish a poll previously published by Dnevnik daily. The conversation afterwards is again about party interventions, but on alltogether another topic – the TV’s editor-in-chief invited Denko Maleski to appear as a guest, and Protugjer was told about this by certain members of VMRO-DPMNE. He reacts because such an illegible person is invited on TV. Stojmenov on the other hand says that he will tell her (TV’s editor in chief) not to invite him, and he even asks who could be invited in general. Then, we hear another instruction from Protugjer – they sent a briefing to the media “important to us” regarding the judgement in Hague and requests broadcasting of that briefing. Later, Protugjer calls again and has a new order – to broadcast the interview with Magash in Netpress as a breaking news on Kanal 5.
Then we can hear Mijalkov’s “exclusive” for Latas and Sitel, i.e. he gives precise instructions how a certain man will be arrested, so “Sitel’s” TV crew can be on the spot beforehand and just in the right place. Also, we hear the orders of Gruevski’s chief of cabinet, Protugjer, who says that the pro-government magazine “Republika” should be distributed to the employees in the state institutions. Afterwards, we hear how Martin Protugjer intervened with Latas because Sitel TV station was broadcasting events from the opposition, and Latas replies that “these illiterate people”, I.e. the VMRO-DPMNE’s party members reported these events, whereas Ivanov was convincing him that Sitel broadcasts nothing related to the opposition. Then, we hear how much Stavreski and Jankuloska “appreciate” Milenko Nedelkovski, and how much they are disgusted by his posts about the journalist Meri Jordanovska. Jankuloska cannot even look at the messages because she feels disgusted, whereas Stavreski says that Milenko “is a real punk, excessive thief, he should have been in jail, that’s where he should be because he was stealing”.
Next, we hear Protugjer “ordering” the cover of the “Vecher” daily regarding a certain article. In the following conversation we find out about the order of the government’s spokesperson Aleksandar Gjorgjiev, who gave instructions to Ivona Talevska on how to present the article on the cover. And the article is written by Gruevski himself, says Sitel’s owner. “It is so personal, they were so much insisting”. Afterwards we hear Latas and Protugjer talking, when the latter thanks the editor in chief of Sitel television and the Vecher daily for the “delivery”.
After that, we hear Goran Ivanov soliciting from Mile Janakieski to do the trick about the permit for building an object of the Socialist Party in Taftalidje, albeit citizens’ protests. Sitel’s owner makes a deal with Janakieski to win a tender in Kratovo for which he applied with a higher price than the accustomed. The number is 40 million, and the gap will most likely be covered by the Municipality of Kratovo. We also hear how Latas arranges his businesses to the detriment of the TV station, trades advertisements in Sitel with concrete that he needs for his construction projetc … There is also racketeering – Latas won’t “bother” firms if they advertise on the TV station.
Furthermore, we hear that Goran Trajkovski from the Public Revenue Office (PRO) gave Latas a hand regarding one of his firms. As Zoran Zaev said in this press conference, it is the firm “Total”, that’s in huge debts. We also hear how PRO’s director, Goran Trajkovski, slurred over Stojmenov’s actions, for which the employees in the PRO found some irregularities, and upon Gruevski’s instructions, Trajkovski agreed “to make the protocol” according to the remarks of Stojmenov’s lawyers from his private consulting firm. We hear Stojmenov’s admission that he has to pay 400.000 in taxes just for one invoice for services for the government, as Zaev said, so he solicits help from Protugjer.
In the next conversation it becomes clear that Sitel’s editor-in-chief “housed” his wife upon Gruevski’s personal intervention and with scams, to the detriment of some other man in the GAMA enterprise, on a position that brings her 1.000 euro per month. “Gruevski dealt with him in just 5 minutes”, brags Latas proudly to Ivanov.
Then we hear a conversation between Sitel’s owner and Mile Janakieski, in which we notice that Ivanov is a dedicated to the VMRO-DPMNE to the bone, and he is worried how the expatriates shall vote, but also about the number of votes VMRO-DPMNE will get in Macedonia. Goran Ivanov says: “Listen, we are not swayed, we just blindly fulfil everything they say, that’s our problem”.
Latas, while explaining how much Sitel “does” and how much Kanal 5 and Alfa do, says that he is going to do what he told he is going to do, “and I do not feel underestimated or humiliated because of that… but the other one causes damages, not just to me, but to Nikola too.”
In the last recordings, we hear Goran Ivanov praying to God for help on the elections, whereas Emil Stojmenov is ready to cancel a flight from Skopje and to chase the plane from Belgrade due to a meeting with Gruevski.
All of the “bombs” are here
Press conference of Zoran Zaev, president of SDSM, in Skopje, 22nd of April 2015
This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.