Today, AJM and the OSCE Mission to Skopje signed a memorandum of understanding, which envisages the organization of a series of activities aiming to improve the safety of journalists and to improve the quality of journalists’ reporting. The memorandum of cooperation envisages six trainings for journalists and members of the police that will be dedicated to the way high risk events are being be covered by journalists. Within these activities, a manual on Journalist safety will be published as well, and a joint event will mark the 2nd of November, the International Day for the Fight against Impunity of Violence against Journalists.
Ambassador Suomalainen said that the signing of the memorandum of cooperation with AJM has a symbolic significance, as it officially resumes the co-operation in the field of media freedom after a break of about a decade. “I hope that our co-operation that starts officially from today will lead to a safer environment for journalists. As I read on one of the walls at your Association premises, ‘freedom of the press is a GPS to democracy’”
The President of AJM Naser Selmani thanked the OSCE Mission to Skopje for giving support and encouraging journalists to tackle the problems with freedom of speech. Selmani said that the readiness of the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecutor’s Office should be used to discuss long needed increase of the efficiency of their investigations for all attacks against journalists and to build an institutional mechanism for the prevention and punishment.
“We will not improve the freedom of speech in Macedonia if the institutions do not have the will and capacity to effectively investigate all the attacks on journalists. And not only that, those who are condemned to attack journalists must be brought quickly to justice and receive the deserved punishment. By doing so, the system will send a clear message to everyone that violence against journalists is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the future, “Selmani said.
He said that freedom of speech is a major benefit of civilization, but it brings responsibilities at the same time. According to him, one of the trainings will be dedicated to educate journalists on the practice of the European Court of Human Rights. “We are convinced that such trainings will improve the reporting of journalists because they will know exactly where the freedom ends and their responsibility begin. By doing so, we will prevent possible self-censorship in the media, “Selmani added.
The Ambassador Suomalainen and the President of AJM Selmani jointly condemned the verbal threats by the prosecutor Bahri Shabani against Alsat-M journalist Ardian Kerimi.