North Macedonia has improved its’ ranking for 14 places on the latest Index of Reporters Without Borders on Media Freedom and is currently ranked 95th out of 180 countries worldwide. In compare, last year the country was ranked on 109th place.
According to the Reporters Without Borders assessment, this progress is primarily due to the reduction in the number of attacks on journalists during 2018. However, they also emphasize the negative phenomena in the media sphere, for which the AJM in the previous period repeatedly reacted in public. Some of these problems are the non-implementation of public service reform (MRT), the need for amendments to some of the media laws such as the Law on Civil Liability for Defamation and Insult, the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Character but also The Electoral Code. A serious remark in their report is the level of impunity when journalists’ rights are violated, thus stimulating future violence against journalists and media workers. Apart from this, criticism is given to the tendency of certain senior government officials who threaten and insult journalists.
“It is good that the country has made progress in the latest report of Reporters Without Borders, but the Government, the judicial authorities and the media themselves need to work hard in order to create an environment which will be beneficial to the work of all journalists and media workers” said the President of AJM, Mladen Chadikovski.
He once again reminded that the media reforms need to be returned to the focus of the work of the Government and the Assembly, because only through inclusive and transparent process we can get quality solutions, which will facilitate and improve the work not only of MRT, but also the private media. “In this way, the trust of citizens in the media can be improved, and our country can improve its image in the world for the level of freedom of expression and media independence and repeat the success of 2007, when North Macedonia was 36th on the media freedom index and this should be the benchmark when we talk on this topic,” said Chadikovski.
Let’s not forget that in comparison with the other Balkan countries, North Macedonia is still on the penultimate place in front of Bulgaria, but behind Slovenia, Greece, Croatia, Serbia, BiH, Kosovo, Albania, and Romania, which confirms that much work still needs to be done.