The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) reacts to the inappropriate communication of Hristijan Mickoski, the President of the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, through which journalists who report on the bilateral dispute with Bulgaria are publicly belittled.
In his party speech at the rally held on Saturday in front of the Government, he said: “They lied to us that they do not negotiate about the language, that they do not negotiate about the identity, and today those paid, for the sake of truth, few government’s ‘feathers’, through small columns, convince that they have triumphed over who knows how many times.”
We point out that the public labelling of journalists and the media, especially by the presidents of political parties, negatively affects the freedom of the media and contributes to censorship and self-censorship.
Such public narratives directly encourage party sympathizers to call for hate speech against journalists and media workers on social networks. Aggressive hate speech and threats against journalists can also result in acts of hatred, which may further jeopardise journalists’ safety and thus, citizens’ right to receive information about important social processes.
We remind you that editorial and journalistic independence is inviolable, and it must not be under pressure from politicians as it influences the public interest to turn into partisan, to the detriment of citizens and their right to information.