Reaction of the MOD to the “Blic” show by Ljupche Zlatev, broadcast on Alfa TV on 7 May 2018 at 22.45

The Ministry of Defence would like to address the untruths that were broadcast on the “Blic” show on Alfa TV last night. The show was prepared without respecting the basic journalistic rules, i.e. requesting a statement from the second party and checking the information. Moreover, it abounds with false news and speculations, without making even the slightest effort to check them before being broadcast, thus causing damage to the state and going against the basic postulate of the journalistic profession – objectivity. Before broadcasting the show, its author did not contact the Ministry to do a background check of his speculations.

1. Colonel Goran Vasilevski is neither related, nor is he acquainted with the mentioned Chief in the Serbian Army, with whom he only shares the same surname. Your insinuations can damage the established cooperation between the two armies. Vasilevski has a late brother and this incorrect information has upset his family and his elderly father.

2. You falsely presented the married couple Zdravevski as having close friendly ties with Vasilevski (namely, as best man and bridesmaid at his wedding). This is not correct.

3. The insistence of the author of the show that Vasilevski carried out his own security check is absurd and insinuating. The Ministry has already given a statement on this issue, however this statement was not taken into account on the show.

4. Vasilevski is the author of the paper “Women involvement in creating and conducting defence and security policy in the world and the Republic of Macedonia”, presented at a conference, which, if you had known, you could have taken into account prior to accusing him of sexism.

5. The procedure for the Colonel that you are mentioning has not been stopped, it has been completed, and the commission determined that he was returned from Afghanistan without a formal legal decision and without submitting a formal rationale. This information was also available to the media and it would have been available to you had you requested it.

6. The Government of the Republic of Macedonia publicly released the expenses of its ministers, deputies and state secretaries, and that information is publicly available to investigative journalists. If you had looked at this data, you would have noticed that not a single denar was not spent for the State Secretary’s visit of Washington – the cost was at the expense of the organizer of the trip to which the State Secretary was invited. Therefore, your claim that money from the citizens had been spent is a lie, as is the footage from the different and much more luxurious hotel in which Nikolic had not stayed.

This is just an illustration of the flagrant lies broadcast in the “Blic” show. We will not allow this kind of irresponsible false information to damage the reform processes in the Ministry and the Army, which aim to repair the neglect that happened in the past 10 years, and to harm Macedonia’s new position as a credible partner on the international stage, which after 10 years has once again gained the support of the strategic partners for our well deserved NATO membership.