Two Macedonian free papers closed

koha2011In the beginning on July, the two free Macedonian free newspapers Shpic and Koha were closed down, together with paid newspaper Vreme. TV-station A1, also belonging to the same media group – cut back in programming.

Yesterday, July 18, the court has been asked to start a bankruptcy procedure against A1. The owner of the TV-station and both newspapers, Velija Ramkovski, was arrested in December 2010, being accused of tax evasion and financial irregularities.

Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), has expressed concerns over the latest media developments in Macedonia because they think they might be politically motivated.

The papers had to closed down because the tax office said they were behind 21 million in taxes. After the tax office move, the papers could no longer pay wages. Albanian language paper Koha, however, still publishes a pdf on the website. The website of Shpic is also still alive. (

Shpic was launched in 2006 and claimed a circulation of 125,000. Koha started in 2007.

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