PRESS RELEASES

"The self-sustainability of the Media Ethic Councils - myth or reality for the Balkan region and Turkey" was the topic of the regional conference organized by the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) in Skopje, 26-27.03.2019, in the presence of participants from the Media Ethic Councils from the neighboring countries.

"Although the importance of the Media Ethic Councils and of the self-regulation is recognized in general, the survival of these self-regulatory bodies, which have an exceptionally important role for protection of the freedom of expression, is brought under question. Although most of the Press Councils in Europe are fully funded by the media industry and the media, the uninhabitable situation in which the media in our country are, makes this model almost impossible", said Marina Tuneva, Executive Director of the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia.

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On the other hand, according to the Executive Director of Media Ethic Council in Serbia, Gordana Novakovic, in cases when the Media Ethic Councils are funded by the state, mechanisms are created for protection from state interference in the process of the media self-regulation, such as the establishment of an independent fund for support.

The participants at today's conference adopted a joint Declaration, the text of which is as follows:

Starting from the generally recognized and established fact by UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the European Union, as well as the institutions and organizations in the countries where we are active, the Media Ethic Councils in the media and self-regulation deliver a public good that consists of the following:

• Raising public trust in the media
• Raising the professional standards in the journalism and, in general, development of the good journalism
• The fight against misinformation and fake news – reduction of the number of litigations before the civil or criminal courts for defamation and insult, and
• Spreading of the media literacy.

We, the Media Ethic Councils from the region (Albania, BiH, Kosovo, Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey) are sending out the following APPEAL to the governments and the domestic and international donor community:

To assist in the provision of stable financial support for institutional and program sustainability of our professional organizations.

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To Assist in the affirmation of the mission and the objectives of the Media Ethic Councils as a factor that strongly contributes to the protection of freedom of expression and the right of the public to accurate information, which de facto supports the democracy in our countries and in the region as a whole.

This appeal does not exclude the possibility for eventual self-financing of our organizations, using the mechanism of membership fees from the media and the media industry. However, having in mind the overall situation in which the media and industry are, we appeal for greater support and awareness of the need of existence of our organizations.

In that regard, we appeal to consider the idea of establishing an independent fund to support the Media Ethic Councils, as bodies that play a major role in protecting the freedom of expression and the media freedoms and rights, which are among the main preconditions for European integration of our countries.

Sincerely,

Ethics Council in the media of Macedonia
Këshilli për etikë në media in Maqedonia
Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia