By Means of Supporting the Self-Regulatory Media System to Credible and Professional Media

Date of meeting/event: 30.09.2021
Topic/theme of the event: Self-regulation and its development and challenges
Region: Polog

By Means of Supporting the Self-Regulatory Media System to Credible and Professional Media

In the course of the meeting the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia had a discussion with the journalists from the Polog region regarding the relevance of self-regulation in media and the necessity of systematic support to CMEM.

Additionally, in the course of the meeting it was ascertained that the mechanism of self-regulation in media is crucial for the journalists and media alike so that they may influence the regulation of their own respective work. Otherwise, if the media themselves did not agree on an internal support mechanism, then it is to be performed by other entities, i.e. the state, and such an occurrence would adversely affect media autonomy, and the credibility of their work.

If the media are the watchdogs of democracy, the question posed is who would be protecting and safeguarding journalists against misuse, unprofessionalism in journalism and against the ones that misuse the profession.

‘Provided that self-regulation is regarded as an endeavor to establish certain rules applicable to media, it does not mean that it could censor or introduce censorship mechanisms. To the contrary, it is a crucial mechanism as it establishes and defends the principles of ethical, accurate and unbiased journalism that adheres to human rights and respects the freedom of editorial policy as well. Media self-regulation is a mechanism that provides for a balance between the freedom of media and the tendency of being abused’, stated Mr. Tahiri, PhD, a member of the Complaints Commission. According to him, provided that a good self-regulatory system is established in the state, then the members, in a certain way, shall be in an advantageous position due to the adherence to ethical and professional standards and principles. This would lead to differentiation between the genuine and credible media as opposed to the nonprofessional ones. Only by means of united forces and efforts on the part of all media credible factors in the country could we come to a point that would enable us to have an optimal media system, characterized by credible media.

As regards the self-sustainability system of CEMM, which was previously maintained by virtue of international donor projects, there comes a certain moment when the issue of self-sustainability is to be considered, i.e. a financial management strategy is to be drafted not only for self-sustainability but on other grounds as well, such as resources, staffing, etc.

‘In other states, such as in Germany, this is performed by the state, which in light of our circumstances, where the democracy if rather fragile, would not be the most suitable option as the Council of Ethics may lose its independence and autonomy. The considerations are also in the direction of payment of a membership fee by the media themselves. This membership fee would be a minimum amount and would depend on the scope and type of media. Furthermore, there are considerations as to introducing the membership fee as a precondition for medium membership access to the Council of Ethics and being part of the Register of Online Professional Media’, stated Mr. Tahiri, PhD.

‘The amount of the membership fee may be determined as per different stipulated criteria, i.e. to be established in conformity with a previously adopted rulebook by all CMEM members. For instance, ZAMP (The Musical Copyrights Society of Macedonia) obliges it members to effectuate payment of the membership fee in conformity with the submitted end-of-year-account’, stated the journalist Zoran Madzoski.

This meeting is within the series of debates and meetings that the Council of Media Ethics organizes with the media from all regions throughout the country and in line with the project entitled ‘Support to the Freedom of Expression of the Media in North Macedonia’ implemented by CMEM with the support of the EU Delegation.

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