The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) strongly condemn the cases of gross violation of the election silence by several online media during yesterday, which is a serious compromise of the election process.
It goes to the extent that the media, which themselves remind how to avoid election irregularities, violate the rules of election reporting with their coverage and even allow themselves to publish assessments of election results and announce non-existent, unofficial data from the voting so far.
Apart from seriously violating the ethical standards and norms for elections coverage, these portals also violate the Electoral Code, which clearly states that “during the election silence, all forms of election media coverage of the participants in the campaign terminates” and that “any form of media reporting that is openly or covertly in function of someone’s election campaign and can influence the decision of the voters” is prohibited. Additionally, they damage the election process itself, becoming a tool in the hands of party centers.
We also remind to the fact that some of these portals are on the list of the State Election Commission for paid political advertising with the money of all citizens, from the Budget, and by not respecting the fundamental principles of reporting they are put in the same basket with professional newsrooms.
We remind the media that the election silence is a phase in which voters should be allowed to analyze the information received about the political offer during the campaign and decide who to vote for. We call on the members of the Registry of Professional Online Media (www.promedia.mk) to consistently and fully respect the professional and ethical standards in reporting and not serve as a tool for political agitation and propaganda.
At the same time, we urge news aggregators to seriously engage in reconsidering whether they will be devoting their space to a content that circumvents and ignores professional standards and legal provisions.