The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) reacts to today’s statement of former Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski and president of SDSM. We express serious concern about such statements that can be interpreted as influence and political pressure on media freedom and editorial independence in the pre-election period, especially on the public service.
To a journalist’s question, Kovacevski said:
“MRT JUST REMINDS US WHAT THE MEDIA LOOKED LIKE UNTIL 2016. YOU SHOULD DELIVER THIS QUESTION TO AMBASSADORS GIRE, TO THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR, TO THE DUTCH AMBASSADOR BECAUSE THEY COMMENT VERY OFTEN ON DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM OF THE MEDIA, THE WAY OF REPORTING”.
Such statements by leaders of political parties, which raise questions about the objectivity and impartiality of MRT’s media reporting, harm the image of the public service, but also the democratic principles and the right of citizens to be informed accurately and impartially.
We remind you that the Law regulating the work of MRT in Article 111 indicates that the public service provides impartial, comprehensive and important information and they should present it clearly, unambiguously and in a way that citizens will have the opportunity to freely form their opinion. In addition, this information does not represent or favor the views or interests of a particular political party, association, personal interest, religion or ideology and in programs to equally respect the opinion and conviction of other media services.
If politicians have dilemmas or disagreements with the way of reporting on the public service or any other media, instead of sharing personal inappropriate qualifications, they can submit a complaint to the media self-regulatory bodies, namely: the Council of Honor at AJM as well as the Council for Ethics in the media of Macedonia (CMEM) and thus they help in detecting the media that deviate from journalistic standards.
The true role of the media is to serve as a pillar of democracy, conveying verified information without influence from political interests, and any attempt to undermine media integrity is reprehensible.