The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) in cooperation with the OSCE Mission in Skopje held a summer camp for young journalists in Ohrid from July 11th until July 15th , 2023. The topic of this year’s meeting was the safety of journalists in the framework of their work.
The goal was to contribute to building capacities and improving the overall safety of journalists through socializing and exchanging experiences and practical skills by promoting better cooperation between colleagues, sharing local experiences, and better understanding of the gender dimensions of safety.
Alessio Zucarini, head of the Human Dimension Department/acting deputy head of the OSCE Mission in Skopje, addressed the opening of the summer camp and emphasized that today we must deal with the challenges that journalists face online and offline.
“The digital age has brought with it a new set of challenges. Journalists face an increasing amount of misinformation, cyber-attacks, and erosion of trust. However, we have the ability to overcome these obstacles. By cultivating digital literacy, practicing ethical journalism, and collaborating with IT experts, we can build a resilient digital landscape where truth can prevail over falsehood. Let this camp serve as a platform for your development as you learn, share and work with your fellow journalists. Together, we can build a future where the safety of journalists is a priority, free expression is protected, and media freedom is guaranteed.“
The executive director of the Association, Dragan Sekulovski, addressed the opening of the camp.
“AJM and OSCE have had strategic cooperation in the last few years, and this safety camp for journalists, which is being organized for the second year in a row, has the idea of becoming a traditional event. We consider journalists who are under 35 years, and they are only a hundred professionals in the sector, which is really worrying. Through such events, in addition to the fact that AJM contributes to building their capacities, we also encourage editorial cooperation, considering that journalists from 20 media outlets are present” – said Sekulovski.
During the camp, a key emphasis was placed on physical and digital security for journalists, professional skills and knowledge of journalistic ethics, and the role of journalists in the defense of human rights using fundamental journalistic techniques, new approaches, and digital multimedia tools, including those developed from the OSCE Mission. The latest amendments to the Criminal Law and the Law on Civil Liability for Defamation and Insult were also discussed and what these amendments mean in practice for the work of media workers.
Within the activities planned in the summer camp’s work part, in addition to educational presentations led by experienced trainers, there were interactive workshops and work in groups through informal meetings and joint gatherings where practical experiences were exchanged between the lecturers and the participants.
In the part of educational presentations, Dimitar Dimitrovski from OSCE, IRL journalists Sashka Cvetkovska, David Ilieski, and Alexandra Denkovska Gotcevska, as well as Srećko Popovski and Slavica Filipovska from the web portal 360 degree, had their presentations. Milan Spirovski from AJM and colleagues Pero Momirovski and Darko Duridanski from IUJMW also had their presentations.
At the camp, a representative from the Ministry of the Interior with his presentation was Toni Angelovski, assistant to the Minister of Public Relations.
The participants also had the opportunity to learn physical self-defense techniques, which they will be able to use in the future if they find themselves in danger, and a special program was prepared for the participants by colleague Buyat Saiti, facilitator and animator.
This activity is a continuation of the cooperation between AJM and the OSCE Mission in Skopje, which in previous years were active together on topics related to the safety of journalists and building the capacities of AJM.