Safety of journalists and videographers, end to the impunity of attackers against journalists, end to the aggressive “PR” of the Government and the disparaging attitude of politicians towards media workers, and the immediate establishment of a fund for quality media products, were some of the topics that the representatives of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) highlighted during the visit of the European Parliament and the European Commission in Brussels.
In the period from March 8-9, in Brussels, AJM representatives had direct meetings and conversations with members of the European Parliament and employees of the Directorate for Enlargement of the European Commission on topics related to the rights of journalists in Macedonia, and the conditions in which the media work.
Several specific issues were pointed out as important issues for the European integration of the state, namely: the legal context and the (non)implementation of media laws, then the economic status of the media and journalists as a challenge in performing their work, thirdly issues related to the safety of media workers and fourth, the possibility to establish a fund for journalistic products.
The representatives of AJM, Mladen Chadikovski, and Dragan Sekulovski, and MP Ilhan Quchuk, who is the representative for Macedonia in the European Parliament, agreed that urgent steps are needed to improve the situation, for which the journalistic community, as it was said at the meeting, has the support of the European Parliament. Newly passed laws that are important for media workers, such as the Law on Civil Liability for Defamation and Insult and the Law on Amendments to the Criminal Law, are positive steps, but must not be allowed to set back other processes important to media freedom. , it was emphasized at the meeting.
A meeting was also held with the representative of the European Commission, Victor Tilev, during which it was assessed that the country faces many challenges in terms of journalistic issues, in the field of all the topics that have been imposed.
European representatives agreed to address some of these requests as part of Brussels’ future activities with Skopje.
The visit to AJM was part of the regular activities of the “SafeJournalists” network, which represents more than 8,200 media workers in the Western Balkans, in which, in addition to AJM, the associations of journalists from Belgrade, Pristina, Sarajevo, Zagreb and the journalists’ union from Podgorica are members.