September 4, 2011 – Melbourne, Australia – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) congratulates the Australian Macedonian Weekly for successfully defending the right to a free press in Australia. On August 30, 2011, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Senior Member Ms. Noreeen Megay dismissed the complaint brought against the Macedonian newspaper by the Greek political lobby group AMAC, ending a two-year legal dispute.
“In her ruling, Ms. Megay quoted the preamble of the anti-discrimination law, which recognizes that freedom of expression is an essential component of a democratic society,” said UMD Director of Australian Operations Ordan Andreevski. “It appears that AMAC has forgotten that this is not Greece, and that newspapers in Australia have the right to express the facts about Macedonian history, even though they contradict the official state propaganda of Athens. However, it is unfortunate that Australia’s institutions have been used by AMAC to harass a Macedonian newspaper, much in the same way that legalistic games are used in Greece to suppress freedom of expression.”
Despite the confusing name “Australian Macedonian Advisory Council,” AMAC is in fact a Greek organization with ties to the “Pan-Macedonian Association” in Melbourne, and other Greek groups which provide financial backing to them. AMAC has a history of making wildly offensive statements against Macedonians in general, and working hard to negate the Macedonian identity in Australia, as per the official policy of the Greek state.
At the tribunal, AMAC relied on the testimony of Professor John Melville-Jones, the University of Western Australia academic known for expressing the Greek government’s anti-Macedonian agenda in Australia, comparing the Macedonian nation to “mythology,” and making highly obnoxious statements such as: “I have met a number of people from (Macedonia) in Perth… they were often not well educated, they have generally not been in a position to question the distorted view of history that is the basis of their nation…”
Perth-based UMD Board Member Dame Krcoski stated: “The Macedonian ethnic media in Australia will not be intimidated or silenced by baseless lawsuits. Unfortunately, the Australian taxpayer is the real victim in this, because AMAC is wasting government resources to further the odious political agenda of a foreign state. Australians should be angered by AMAC’s abuse of the public purse.”
“Though hard to prove, it is very likely that AMAC is directly funded by Greece, the same way similar Hellenic lobbies are funded in Canada and the United States. To that extent, the taxpayers of Germany and other EU countries should be made aware of what the bankrupt Greek state is spending their money on. Athens is waging an international anti-Macedonian culture war, and charging it to Europe’s credit card,” said UMD Voice Editor Mark Branov.
For more information, please visit the Australian Macedonian Weekly newspaper website by clicking HERE.
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