The Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM), on the occasion of May 3rd, the World Press Freedom Day, calls for increased accountability in respecting the fundamental principles of media freedom and independence, as well as for the protection of journalists and media practitioners in the accomplishment of their responsibility for professional reporting in the interest of the public.
Crucial in this process is to change the discourse and attitude of those politicians, public opinion makers and centers of power who often perceive or treat the media as a hostile party and avoid their responsibility for transparency and accountability to the public. They are expected to protect the media as an asset and feature of democracy, and not as obstruction or threat for their attitudes and activities.
We urge the authorities and the institutions of the system any decision regarding the improvement of the state of affairs in journalism and media contents to be coordinated and in agreement with the professional media and journalistic community in the country.
The freedom of the media, on the other hand, implies responsibility and aspiration for truthful and professional work, by promoting human rights and the rule of law. Active role of the professional media in combating misinformation and unethical reporting is of essential importance, both during the ongoing crisis situation in the country, as well as in regular circumstances. The practice of the Council of Media Ethics in the last period has confirmed the presence of cases of unethical reporting. Almost 80 percent of the reported cases in the past month and a half relate to information about the coronavirus crisis, with 30 percent of them being sensational, one-sided and incorrect reporting.
Press freedom implies that media will not be used to divide people through different political backgrounds and gain political points. The experience confirms that the practices of certain politicians and holders of power to use media as a platform for political calculations continue, which can be confirmed with the cases in which media failed to provide a professional distance from the political entities they report about.
In support of the freedom of expression and professional and responsible journalism, CMEM will announce the competition for best coronavirus crisis stories this month.
CMEM is joining the UNESCO Global Campaign “Journalism without Fear or Favour”, which aims to raise awareness of journalists' safety, their independence from political or commercial influence and gender equality in all aspects of the media.