A delegation of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia met with representatives of the ODIHR Observation Mission, discussing the changes to the Electoral Code and the referendum, which have a direct impact on the work of the media.
The President of AJM, Naser Selmani, said that the government and the opposition abused the referendum to secure funding for their political propaganda for the election campaign with public money, causing huge damage to media freedom and professional journalism.
“These changes of the law will bring back the government’s campaigns from the time of Gruevski’s regime, when the government with public money conducted media campaigns for their alleged work success,” Selmani said.
According to him, the payment of political propaganda in the media with public money will strengthen the corrupt ties of the media with the political parties and will influence their reporting on political processes in the country. Selmani asked the international community to put pressure on the government after the referendum, in order to delete these changes from the Electoral Code.
For Selmani, it is absolutely unacceptable that government officials made political and financial pressure on Macedonian Radio Television at a time when they declaratively advocate the reform of the public service.
The Director of AJM, Dragan Sekulovski, criticized the behavior of the State Election Commission, which, contrary to good European practices, is trying to take over the responsibilities of the Media Agency by registering the online media. According to him, the SEC can not evaluate the reporting of online media for the referendum and punish them for allegedly unbalanced reporting.