The president of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), Mladen Chadikovski, with representatives from the executive office of AJM and members of the working group that was involved in the development of the new Protocol for the safety of female Journalists on the Internet, today had a working meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs, Oliver Spasovski. As a result of the development of this Protocol, among other things, a person-contact point for internet threats against journalists and media workers, in general, has been appointed in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Protocol offers practical steps for journalists to act when they are the subject of a threat through social networks and, in general, on the Internet, through the proactive involvement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in protecting media workers. This is one of the series of activities jointly implemented by the Ministry of the Interior and the AJM to improve the safety of journalists since 2017, when a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed.
The meeting also discussed other aspects of the safety of journalists and media workers while performing their activities, the threats that are present in the internet space, the need for free and unhindered reporting of events in the field, the efficiency in the protection of journalists with the full implementation of the legal instruments that the institutions have, and the excellent cooperation between AJM and the Ministry of the Interior was highlighted.
The President of AJM, Mladen Chadikovski, said that this Protocol is a plus step in building a safe atmosphere for the work of journalists.
“We believe this is a positive step in increasing the safety of fellow journalists. Today, we not only face a decrease in our security, but we also face the danger of online threats, where, unfortunately, female journalists are the major victims. In this way, we expect the attacks and their danger to decrease and the impunity of the perpetrator to disappear. We hope that the recommendations found in this Protocol will find their place in building a safe atmosphere for the work of journalists”, said the president of AJM, Mladen Chadikovski.
“It is clear that our commitment as a ministry is to provide journalists with all the conditions for them to do their work smoothly, and we have shown that from 2017 until now. There must be no doubt about that because the freedom of the media is one of the fundamental pillars on which democracy rests. Moreover, this Protocol, in which representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, AJM, and experts from the academic community took part, offers solutions that will contribute to every journalist, especially female journalists, feeling safe but also knowing how to act in cases of online threats. For us, the freedom of journalists is a priority, and in that direction, we continue with the following activities in cooperation with AJM. In the previous period, we carried out numerous trainings, jointly with AJM and the OSCE Mission in Skopje, we developed the Manual for the safety of journalists during high-risk events, and today we can state that the Protocol for the safety of journalists on the Internet has also been developed, emphasized Minister Spasovski.
In preparing this Protocol, extensive analyses were made, and the current legal literature on the subject and numerous institutional practices were used to find the best approach for greater protection and safety of journalists on the Internet. In this way, the possibility of self-censorship due to the fear of attack will be reduced, and freedom of expression and professional journalistic standards will be increased.
Members of the working group composed for the preparation of this Protocol by AJM were Mladen Chadikovski and Dragan Sekulovski, Nikola Dujovski, professor at the Faculty of Security Skopje at UKLO Bitola, Jasna Bachovska Nedich, professor at the Faculty of Law “Justinian Prvi” Skopje, Toni Angelovski, assistant of the Minister of Public Relations and Strategic Planning at the Ministry of the Interior, and from the female journalists, members of the working group were Sashka Cvetkovska, Evi Shkopi, and Kristina Atovska.
The Protocol was developed within the framework of the regional project “Trade Unions for a Fair Recovery” (01.01.2022-30.04.2023), financed by the European Union through the European Confederation of Trade Unions and the European Federation of Journalists, with the Agreement on grant number VS/2021/0214