At the afternoon’s press conference organized by the State Election Commission, the President of the SEC, Aleksandar Dashtevski had an unprofessional and disparaging attitude towards some of the journalists during the part when he was trying to answer journalists’ questions.
When asked by a journalist about the announcement for extension of the voting deadline after 7 pm and the announcement for extension of the media silence, instead of answering specifically, he had a verbal argument with the colleague. Namely, Dashtevski was not successful in providing specific answer and at the same time he asked the colleague in which television she is working, after which he addressed her with the words: “you should be well informed before asking a question” and that the journalist should read the law before asking.
We remind President Dashtevski that according to the Electoral Code, Article 31, the SEC has an obligation to inform and educate the public about the manner of voting and the exercise of the right to vote. On the other hand, the journalist has the right to express an opinion and ask a question regardless the media they come from and no matter whether the President of the SEC liked the question or not.
Hence, we remind that journalists and the media play a key role in the election process, not only to inspect the work of the competent institutions, but also to enable citizens to receive all the necessary information. In order to satisfy the right to information, especially on election day, it is necessary for the State Election Commission and all other institutions to be transparent towards journalists by providing timely and complete information in a non-selective manner.
In addition, during the day AJM received few complaints from online media for obstructing their work by supporters of political parties as well as for inappropriate treatment by the members of the Ministry of Interior in Skopje including several other cities. In order not to leave the impression in the public that the law enforcement authorities are ignoring these incidents, we demand their immediate clarification by the police and prompt public informing.