“Safer Media Workers for Quality Journalism in North Macedonia”
The project “Safer Media Workers for Quality Journalism in North Macedonia”, implemented by the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), in partnership with the Independent Trade Union of Journalists of Macedonia (SSNM), is funded by the Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.
Despite somewhat improvement has been acknowledged in the recent years, the media landscape in N. Macedonia continues to be polarized along political lines, with many media with ties of political or business nature. Journalists and media workers have experienced the ease of the working environment concerning freedom of expression and freedom of the press, but these improvements have been far from the desired level for a functioning democracy.
In line with the ambition to strengthening the position of media associations (AJM) and media trade unions (SSNM) as influential actors in the society for advancement of media freedom and journalist’s safety, project’s specific objectives are to advocate for and raise awareness of the necessity for improving the safety and socio-economic environment for journalists and media workers, with a focus on gender specific issues, as a precondition for free and independent media and democratic development of the society.
The project duration is 15 months (15.02.2021-15.05.2022).
“Keeping Journalists Safe in Situations of Crisis”
The project “Keeping Journalists Safe in Situations of Crisis”, implemented by the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), in partnership with the Independent Trade Union of Journalists of Macedonia (SSNM), is funded by UNESCO through the Global Media Defence Fund, a UNESCO Multi-Partner Trust Fund, developed with the goal of enhancing media protection and improving the access of journalists to specialized legal assistance.
In the last decade, R.N. Macedonia has witnessed higher number of attacks against journalists, from verbal attacks, insults, online harassment to physical attacks. This created an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship. Huge percent of the attacks ended with impunity, with only two cases in the recent years ending with sanctions for the perpetrators. Despite the fact that in the last years the physical attacks have a tendency of decreasing, there is still a huge number of cases of online harassment, attacks, intimidations, threats…
In response to these challenges, the project aims to draw the attention of the public and relevant national authorities about the cases of threats and/or attacks against journalists in North Macedonia, with the overarching goal of enhancing their safety, contributing to the fight against impunity, and deterring attacks against media professionals.
In addition, the project also envisages activities designed to ensuring the access to rapid legal assistance to threatened or attacked journalists, with the goal of supporting their legal defence and upholding their human and professional rights.
The project duration is 12 months (15.03.2021-15.03.2022).
Improving the dialogue between journalists’ associations and parliaments in Western Balkans for stronger civil society sector
The project “Improving the dialogue between journalists’ associations and parliaments in Western Balkans for stronger civil society sector”, implemented by the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), in cooperation with the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS), Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (TUMM) and Association of BH Journalists (BHJA), is supported within the project “Protecting Civic Space – Regional Civil Society Development Hub” financed by SIDA and implemented by BCSDN”.
This regional project strives to improve the institutional dialogue among journalists, CSOs, and the national parliaments to raise awareness about immediate changes that will reflect positively in the process of euro-integration of the candidate countries.
Project overall objective is to contribute to creating enabling environment for meaningful participation of CSOs as influential actors in society.
The project-specific objective is to improve the dialogue between members of national parliaments and NJA in Western Balkans, by advancing the state of freedom of expression, as a fundamental human right and strengthening the role of CSOs.
To achieve set objectives, we designed the action under two interlinked components:
- Research and advocacy
This project foresees to:
– Ensure easy access of MPs, CSOs, and media actors from the region to reliable information about existing gaps in the laws and allow them to further develop this information and ensure the project sustainability,
– Allow the WBP to enlarge the network to other interested CSOs working in the rule of law and media freedom sector through identification of the possible area of cooperation,
– Increase the knowledge and understanding of the situation in the region about freedom of expression and active citizenship and
– Allow WBP partners to actively contribute to creating a more favourable environment and more significant influence in the state-civil society dialogue.
The project duration is 10 months (01.01-31.10.2021).
Strengthening Media Freedom in North Macedonia
The project Strengthening Media Freedom in North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia is a 3- year project funded by the MATRA Rule of Law programme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The project will be implemented by a consortium and is developed in cooperation with local partner organisations consisting of three judicial academies and three journalist associations.
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to creating an environment in which media freedom and freedom of expression are respected and can be exercised without fear or pressure. It particularly focuses on building the capacity of both journalists and actors within the judiciary sector to develop a more effective response to cases of intimidation and threats.
Through these aims, the project is directly contributing to enhancing media freedom and is building the capacity of the judiciary.
Free Legal Aid to Journalists and Media in Western Balkan
This bilateral Agreement between BHJA and AJM is established on the base of partnership among four Journalist’s Association from Western Balkans, under the implementation of the pilot project “Free Legal Aid to Journalists and Media in Western Balkan” supported by FPU.
The project is conceived to provide legal aid and services, which will include organize independent professional legal observation at on-going cases before the court and provide legal advice to journalists and media. Also, the project conducts strategic litigation and legal defense of journalists before the courts in cases of criminal offenses or other cases related to violations of the right to freedom of expression in North Macedonia.
The project is conceived to promote freedom of expression and freedom of the media in North Macedonia in line with the European standards. It consists of three components targeting different groups of beneficiaries: I) Legal professionals (judges, prosecutors, police officers, lawyers); ii) the Media Regulatory Authority; iii) Media actors (journalists, journalistic associations, self-regulatory body, students of law and journalism and other media organisations, as well as members of the parliament). The current project builds upon the results achieved and lessons learned during a previous regional EU/CoE JP (JUFREX – Reinforcing Judicial Expertise on Freedom of Expression and the Media in South-East Europe).
This project is part of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II”, a joint EU/CoE programme implemented by the Council of Europe, which aims at assisting Beneficiaries in the Western Balkans region and Turkey to comply with the Council of Europe standards and European Union acquis in the framework of the enlargement process, where relevant.
The Association of Journalists of Macedonia in cooperation with Initiative for European Perspective (IEP) and the Institute for peace, security and policy research Konica in the period from December 2019 to December 2020 will implement the project “Building resilience against violent terrorism and extremism through reinforced journalists, media and government officials.” The main objective of this project is to strengthen the capacity of the media and state authorities to communicate violent extremism and terrorism in a way that reduces the threat of it. The AJM budget for the implementation of this project is 34,098 euro.
Key priority of this project is the education of future journalists, professional journalists, editors and broadcasters. Addressing the current challenge of reporting about violent extremism and terrorism that in most cases fails to adequately investigate the radical narrative and, at worst, aids their goals
Sigrid Rausing Trust
The Association of Journalists of Macedonia has been awarded an institutional grant from Sigrid Rausing Trust (SRT) in the amount of 45,000 pounds, it has a duration of 12 months and starts its implementation in June 2019. The purpose of the grant is to help the work of the AJM in the direction of fulfilling the mission and vision of the AJM, as well as the strategic goals of the Association envisaged in the Statute and the three-year strategic plan.
The SRT which is based in London, United Kingdom, was established back in 1995 and functions as a foundation that provides support and financial assistance for the protection of human rights globally.
The purpose of SRT is to promote the values and principles of human rights and freedoms, equality and the rule of law, and to preserve nature from further degradation. The Trust supports advocacy, creativity, research and scholarship to these ends.
The Safejournalists.net (2020-2023) project is a continuation of the project “Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety in Western Balkans” (2016-2018) financially supported by the European Union. Its implementation involves journalists’ associations and unions from the Western Balkans countries (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia and North Macedonia).
The general goal is to contribute to the strengthening of participatory democracy in the Western Balkans through regional cooperation of professional and responsible civic associations and their active involvement in the policy-making process and monitoring of their implementation.
The short-term specific goals are to contribute to the safety of journalists and media freedoms in the Western Balkans countries through the enhanced role of the Western Balkans Platform members as active and responsible independent actors in creating relevant civil society-supported policies.