The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Council for Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) react to the announcements with fabricated statements related to the Mayor of Municipality of Struga Ramiz Merko assessing that in this way, the public can be misled and spread misinformation.
Although it is satirical content, the media that the public recognizes as professional should not ignore that such content can readily be accepted by the general public as accurate, especially if the topics are in the context of current political developments.
It is about the announcement in several media in which it is said that the Mayor of Municipality of Struga Merko “often ate and by force only to help the caterers, and for that, he was paid by the municipality,” where at the end of the text it is stated: ” Read the full satirical news on the portal “Кооперација.”
We point out to the media that if they use such publications that have satirical content, the least the editors can do is, at the beginning of the text, to point out that it is fictional content. At the same time, they should be aware of the possibility of misinforming the citizens, especially keeping in mind that the reader often stays on the headline and briefly goes through the announcement’s content.
In conditions when the dissemination of misinformation is a serious problem, the inappropriate and irresponsible use of satirical content, which attracts a lot of attention at social networks, can be interpreted by the public as a tendentious attempt to abuse the media, damaging the reputation not only of a particular individual but and social processes.