Rules of operation of the Press Complaints Commission
The Press Complaints Commission is appointed by the Managing Board of the Council. It is composed of seven members, out of whom:
- two representatives of the media owners
- two representatives of the journalists and
- three representatives of the public.
Their term is 4 years, with a possibility for another re-election.
A member of the Press Complaints Commission can be dismissed of duties before the expiration of the term upon personal request, if unreasonably did not attended three meetings, if he/she damaged the reputation of the Commission with his/her own conduct. The Managing Board of the Council discusses and decides on the termination of the duty.
The Press Complaints Commission reviews all press complaints related to the violation of professional and ethical standards in the print (print and news agencies), electronic (TV and radio) and the Internet media in Macedonia.
Anonymous complaints cannot be considered.
A press complaint related to the contents published in the print, electronic or online media may be filed by every citizen, legal entities and civic and international organisations. The complaint may be filed against certain media outlet. Complaints against individual journalists cannot be filed.
Complaints shall be submitted in written and electronically to the Executive Offices of the Council; according to the procedure that is defined by the Executive Office and approved by the Managing Board. A complaint may be submitted within one month since the publishing of the journalistic article/item.
In consultation with the President of the Press Complaints Commission, the Executive Office of the Council has the responsibility to examine if the press complaint is within the competencies of the Council.
If the press complaint is not in the jurisdiction of the Council, the Executive Office, after prior consultation with the President of the Press Complaints Commission, can reject the complaint and notify the applicant of the reasons due to which it has been refused. The Executive Director immediately notifies the Commission of the rejected complaint.
The Press Complaints Commission, can reject the complaint and notify the applicant of the reasons due to which it has been refused.
A file is opened for the press complaints which are under the jurisdiction of the Council and marked with an archive number.
The Press Complaints Commission meets at least once a month. The decisions are carried by a consensus or by a majority of votes of the total number of members, if a consensus cannot be reached.
Before the beginning of each session of the Press Complaints Commission, its members clearly state if they have a conflict of interest for the subject to be discussed. The member who has a conflict of interest is excluded from the debate on this subject.
If there is a need, the Press Complaints Commission can work according to the principle of member-rapporteur, appointed by the President of the Commission. The member-rapporteur will need to inform the other members of the Commission on the subject of work.
The Press Complaints Commission has an obligation to examine all the press complaints under its jurisdiction, demanding from the one who submitted the complaint, as well as from the media against which a complaint is filed, to submit all the necessary facts and information. All collected information is attached to the dossier on the subject. The media against which the complaint is filed shall reply to the request of the Commission and submit the requested information within 7 working days.
The Executive Office, depending on the complexity of the subject, must initiate a reconciliation of the parties in the dispute, as well as to request from the media to use its right of reply to the person submitting the complaint, that is, to explain the motives and arguments for publishing the item/article.
The Executive Office represented by the Executive Director is obliged to present all the press complaints to the Commission, together with the overall material gathered from the conducted investigations, as well as the outcome of the potential reconciliation between the two sides, if it was initiated.
The Press Complaints Commission has a deadline of one month to make decision on the press complaint, unless there are justifiable reasons for the extension of the deadline, but not later than 3 months.
The decision made by the Commission shall be sent to the media within 7 days, and also uploaded at the website of the CMEM and social networks Facebook and Twitter.
The Council will ask from the violator to publish the decision at the same space where the text/article that violated the Code was published. The Commission is obliged to inform the Managing Board of the Council about all situations where media didn’t publish their decisions. If the decision is not published within 3 days, an information on reached decisions, with a recommendation to be published, will be shared with all media outlets. Publishing shall be free of charge in all media members of the Council of Media Ethics. The Council will inform the public on quarterly which media didn’t publish the decisions of the Press Complaints Commission.
The documentation for all items must be appropriately archived and kept for at least five years in the archive. The documentation is available to the public, except in the case if it is contrary to the Law on Access to Public Information.
The Press Complaints Commission also takes into consideration the press complaints against media that are not members of the Council of Media Ethics. The procedure for these complaints is the same as the one for the members of the Council.
The members of the Press Complaints Commission do not have a right to explain and comment the decisions in public. Items and decisions may be explained by another member of the Commission if the members agree on that, or receive an authorization from the President or his/her deputy. The Commission is represented in public by the Chairman, and in his/her absence, his/her deputy or the Executive Director.
Skopje, 30 March 2017.