The Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) organized its Open Day on May 31st, when the first public session of the Complaints Commission was held. The members of the Commission discussed three adjudications for the media, on the basis of the latest press complaints.
The goal of the open session was to closely inform the public and the media about the work of the Press Council, which since its establishment three and a half years ago made 250 adjudications. This type of open session will be an imperative for the Media Ethics Council in its further action and promotion of self-regulation in the country.According to the Executive Director of the CEMM, Marina Tuneva, it is important to talk about ethics in the profession, but also about the rights of journalists for free expression and safe work. In her opinion, if the voice of the media is silenced then we are all deprived of the right to hear them.
Professor Huub Evers and a member of the Dutch Press Council have identified most common breaches of the professional standards that occur among Dutch journalists. According to the practice of the Dutch Press Council, the most frequently reported problems in the reporting are publication of inaccurate and biased information, news that violates privacy, absence of "second source" of information, and cases when the source of information is not protected. He did not mention hate speech at all, which, in comparison, is identified in a number of cases reported to the Media Ethics Council in Macedonia. Evers talked about the need of journalistic ombudsmen, who are currently engaged in five Dutch media.
Professor Jean - Jacques Jespers, Chairman of the Press Council in Belgium, emphasized that the marketing industry continuously tries to make commercial contents look like journalistic reports.
Statistics in Belgium have shown that 71 percent of Internet users cannot make a distinction between online editorial contents and advertising. Jespers also mentioned the so-called “deceitful omission”, when media signalize commercial contents but the manner in which they do this is not specified i.e. ambiguous terminology is deliberately used.
The President of the Press Complaints Commission in Macedonia, Mirce Adamcevski, emphasized that the number of media supporting the Council of Media Ethics rises, which increasingly becomes more visible in the public. According to the latest findings, 75% of the entire number of press complaints received refers to Internet portals.
The Executive Director of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia, Dragan Sekulovski, thinks that the laws can often impair freedom of expression and can easily lead to self-censorship. He also added that regulation cannot make the media more ethical and more professional. Sekulovski also emphasized the important role the Council of Media Ethics has in decreasing the number of defamation cases in the country.