Self-sustainability is the gravest and the most difficult to resolve problem encountered by media and media organizations

Self-sustainability is the gravest and the most difficult to resolve problem encountered by media and media organizations

The development of self-regulation and attainment of a higher level of self-sustainability were some of the pivotal issues at the latest meeting of the Council of Media Ethics and the journalists from Eastern Macedonia. Having in mind that the journalists and media from the eastern region are encountering challenges related to the issue of self-sustainability of their respective media, they have shared their accumulated experience with the Council of Media Ethics. 

The President of the Complaints Commission within CMEM, Mr. Mirche Adamchevski, elaborated on the experiences and the prior work of the Council. Self-regulation is a very important aspect for media. It enables regulation of the media sphere and the work of journalists without delving into the freedom of speech or the editor’s media policy. It is a regulatory instrument that concerns and is applicable to all of us. In the course of last year only, we had more than 100 complaints that have been perused and resolved, stated Mr. Adamchevski, emphasizing the relevance of the Council and its sustainability.

Mr. Adamchevski underlined that as opposed to the councils from the western democracies, where some of the councils have been operating for some one hundred years now, the most pressing issue we have been experiencing is financing of both media and of media and journalistic associations and organizations.

‘As regards CMEM, membership fees may be required for financing purposes, as well as donations. We might even consider a state financing system upon securing independence for the Council. There are cases of councils in global terms that have been receiving state unconditional subsidies,’ underlined Mr. Adamchevski.

The journalists and media workers that attended the meeting produced solid proposals with reference to the future of both media and self-regulation.1 1

‘In the past, intimidated by the potent influence of politicians on media, we have been fighting against entry of state finances in media, and this has backfired on us leaving many media in dire straits dealing with existential problems. As media we should have properly allocated any potential state resources by establishing a proper model and criteria. The political parties are not to be allowed to allocate any such resources. Even the resources inflowing media from foreign donors are mainly other states’ money,’ stated Mr. Goran Lefkov, an investigative journalist and a member of the Honour Council within CMEM.

Mr. Lefkov underlined that wider cooperation is required as regards the Honour Council and the Council of Media Ethics, as well as uplifting and providing stable ground for the national broadcasters and media for the purpose of having journalism which is enhanced, of better quality and sustainable.

‘The resources obtained from foreign donors may only secure short-term sustainability. Hence, the experiences of other self-regulatory bodies are to be considered, and in particular of the more-experienced ones as regards the model of financing to be utilized for the Council of Ethics,’ underlined Ms. Dijana Naseva from the University Radio UGD FM.

In this context, the journalists claimed that it was necessary to create a mechanism for broader effect and transparency of the operation of CMEM. ‘It is essential to enhance the effect of associations on the operation of media. Provided that the effect is missing, the journalists and media may lose their trust in the associations, and once the trust is lost, the access to financing would be rendered more difficult,’ announced Mr. Toni Mihailov, a journalist.

This productive debate shall be utilized for the purpose of improving the operation of the self-regulatory body and for the drafting of a self-sustainability plan. The Program Coordinator within CMEM, Mr. Daniel Dimitrieski, elaborated on the current plan drafting phase of the organization aimed at establishing the models of self-sustainability and financing of the Council and stated that the ideas conveyed and shared would be more than welcomed.

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

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