The Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM), in the wake of the announced amendments to the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services, firmly maintains that it is necessary to eliminate any influence of the state on the process of self-regulation in the media.
The effective functioning of self-regulation in the media excludes any form of placing professional journalistic standards in the legal framework and imposing sanctions on the media for their disrespect. When it comes to ethical and professional reporting, no government or political party should decide on behalf of the media. In this direction, CMEM opposes the Draft-changes of Article 61 in the Draft Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services, which refers to the principles and standards in the operation of broadcasters, as well as to the changes that have been made in Article 145 which proposes imposing fines if professional standards are not respected.
In circumstances in which self-regulation in the media in the state have been gradually accepted and the work of the Media Ethics Council increasingly supported, the introduction of any obstacles by the Government and marginalization of the work of the Council will result in a reduction of accountability in the media and in support of the practice of censorship and self-censorship.
Welcoming the recently announced efforts of the Government for strong encouragement of the system of media self-regulation, we remind that self-regulation should not be given a secondary importance. Instead, it should be one of the priorities in achieving changes and reforms in the work of the media.