Jani Makraduli is a North Macedonian politician. When he was in opposition. Mr Makraduli made statements about public rumours of corrupt activities by a senior government figure, the then Head of the Security and Counter Intelligence Agency.
The subject of the rumours successfully sued Mr Makraduli for defamation, resulting in a criminal conviction.
Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights:
The Court found that Mr Makraduli’s freedom of speech had been violated. Rather than making allegations himself, Mr Makraduli had merely been referring to existing allegations under public debate. There should be considerable freedom for people to discuss such issues regarding a politician in public office. Imposing a criminal conviction for this kind of speech had been disproportionate.
Defamation was removed from the criminal code in 2012 but it was replaced with other civil actions carrying heavy fines and jail terms. Consequently, self-censorship is prevalent in the country.
Useful links on the Makraduli v the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia case (Application No 69659/11):