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CMEM Debate: Necessity of Supporting Self-Regulation and Implementation of Media Reforms

DIZAJNIRANO ISTRAZUVANJE Page 01The project “Promoting Inclusiveness and Respecting Human Rights in the Media in North Macedonia” places a strong focus on raising the awareness and improving the knowledge and skills with respect to the need of dealing with discrimination, disinformation and hate speech in the media. More than 120 representatives from the media, civil society organizations, state institutions, and citizens took part in the four debates and two trainings organized as part of the project. They discussed the relevance of self-regulation and inclusion in the media sphere and the approaches they could use in providing support in the fight against discrimination together. At the trainings, they learned about the approaches for recognizing discriminatory and hate speech in the media, as well as for building strategies for effective action against such practices. The project also assisted in issuing the publication “Hate speech, international and national legal framework, with a special focus on the media”, which represents an analysis of the policies for protection and prevention against discrimination and regulation of the media sphere.

Hatred and negative feelings are the result of a growing decline in professional standards

adamceAuthor: Mirche Adamchevski, President of the Appeals Commission at CMEM

In recent years, hate speech, discrimination and disinformation have become a distinctive feature of journalism in our country. They are mostly found in online media, but certain electronic and print media are not excluded from the equation.

The consequences of this type of journalism are all around us. It is enough to see the comments in the online media or the call-in shows on the televisions and radio stations. Disinformation, discrimination, incitement of aggression have become quite prevalent, and all this is carried out under the guise of freedom of expression, as if no one is worried about what is happening under the published text. Also, the line that leading journalists leave for viewers and listeners to uphold, who can easily cross and break the rules and norms, is very thin.

fullThe media and the civil society sector are key actors in the processes of preventing and dealing with phenomena such as discrimination, disinformation and hate speech, which in the past year were on the rise in the public sphere in North Macedonia. The media is one of the actors with great responsibility in terms of protecting the audience from discrimination and hate speech, as well as in intercepting disinformation that leads to the creation of these phenomena.

dragan sekulovskiAuthor: Dragan Sekulovski, Executive Director of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia

The axiom that "the spoken word can kill" could not be refuted in the philosophical debate in history, and from today's perspective, taking into consideration the information progress and globalization, the risk of abusing freedom of expression and violating human security is greater than ever before. The question that arises today is whether the spoken word can kill more than in the past?

IMG 20201029 185448Author: Arta Tahiri, news editor and "The Road to" TV show editor on Alsat M

Hate speech is present not only in the online media, popularly known by the public as portals, the Internet and social networks, but also on television and radio stations, in print media, political speeches and other public addresses, public gatherings - rallies, protests and sports competitions.

Youthforum portrait NH 10Author: Monika Aksentievska, Institute of Communication Studies

Social media has changed the way we communicate, allowing us to access information quickly and easily. Moreover, gave us a platform where we can freely express and encourage social change. On the other hand, the freedom to be a content creator has revealed some of the negative aspects of social media, such as spreading disinformation and hate speech, online bullying, fraud, etc.

These phenomena became even more pronounced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The spread of the corona virus resulted in the spread of conspiracy theories, rumours, disinformation and hate speech on social media. This is particularly devastating, seeing as the opportunity provided by social media to connect different people in online communities that promote acceptance of diversity, togetherness and inclusion is being abused to create a xenophobic environment, spreading panic and fear.

The fruitful discussion and diverse debate made a genuine cross-section and presented the manner in which vulnerable categories are depicted in the Macedonian society, and the challenges they face in getting to their well deserved place. All human beings are equal, and they do not need to constantly prove that.

This in short, with just a few words, can be the summary of the workshop entitled "Against Stereotypes and Discrimination with Inclusive Media Reporting", organized by the Council for Media Ethics in Macedonia - CMEM, where several relevant experts on the status of vulnerable categories spoke primarily about the manner in which they are presented to the public by the media and the way the public in general perceives them, through the prism of media reporting.

erdem.ademAuthor: Erdem Ahmet, journalist, member of the CMEM Appeals Commission

"Do not do unto others what you do not want done unto you". If the media had followed this wise Confucian saying, there would have been no content with hate speech, prejudice, discriminatory speech and stereotypes related to diversity. There would be debates and disagreements as before, but the words would be heeded. Diversity would be respected. As things currently stand, no one is sure that they will not be verbally attacked just because of their ethnicity, gender, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, political conviction….

vesna ivanovska ilievska 1Author: Vesna Ivanovska-Ilievska, journalist

I have written several announcements about the exhibitions of the artist Aferdita Kiki, all published in the culture section of the newspaper "Dnevnik", where I worked for 17 years. I have always liked her works. But, there was no time to meet her to talk about her work. We met by chance, at an awards ceremony. I have not met a person with such impressive energy for a long time. Strong, but infinitely gentle. As if I had known her all my life. I barely noticed the crutches.

дандоновAuthor: Dejan Andonov, MA, media and communications expert

Online space and social media have become the central point where young people explore new ideas, express their identity and participate in the greater society. Yet, at the same time, they can be abused by those who want to use the afore-stated to humiliate, insult and bully. Penal provisions are no longer sufficient to prevent hate speech. We need educational measures to address this social problem.