Celebrating World Press Freedom Day – May 3, during global health crisis, the importance of independent and professional journalism has become clearer than ever. The crisis caused by the pandemic with Covid-19 has brought to the top all the virtues, but also weaknesses of journalism, which in the past period is going through meaningful changes and turmoil.
Professional versus propaganda journalism, today is more than ever a challenge for all of us, to try to maintain the quality of journalists who nurture free thought as a guide, through the obstacles facing the world, but also North Macedonia. Responsible and professional journalism in this crisis has proved to be crucial in terms of informing the citizens. Therefore, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia together with the OSCE Mission to Skopje, call for solidarity and support, especially from the public, for journalists and media workers who in the past year have faced major health, security, financial and ethical challenges in the effort to properly and prompt inform the public about developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The fight against misinformation that has proven to be particularly harmful in such challenging times is possible only with the production of objective and exact information and transparent work of the Government and other public institutions. But the pandemic is not the only part of the picture for journalism and the media today. The slow progress of media freedoms on the world lists that measure these parameters shows that other efforts are needed by the entire community in North Macedonia for stronger breakthrough towards the list of countries in which the media are completely free. Journalism must be treated as a public good, and the flow of information must not be restricted.
As a continuation of the cooperation with the OSCE Mission, within which last year 150 packages of protective equipment for COVID-19 were distributed to 100 media, today, on the occasion of this day, we announce that AJM with the help of OSCE provided 120 sets of vests and protective hats, which will help reporters attending high-risk events to be more recognizable and thus better protected. Statement by Ambassador Clemens Koja, Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje:
According to recent Reporters Without Borders report on media freedom, North Macedonia has jumped 2 places on this list and is now ranked 90th out of 180 countries in the world, which, although small improvement, still it is disappointing position. Therefore, we remind on our demands from last year on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, which are fundamental reforms of the media sector in the country in order to establish working conditions for journalists and media workers that would create environment for performing their tasks without pressure, blackmail and concern for their economic and social situation.