Journalists and prosecutors discussed possible ways to protect freedom of expression
“Promoting transparency and cooperation: a joint event between the Association of Journalists of Macedonia and the Association of Public Prosecutors” is the title of the meeting that took place yesterday, where possible ways to promote mutual cooperation were discussed. Public prosecutors from all over Macedonia, members of the administrative bodies of this association, as well as members of the administrative bodies of ZNM were present at the meeting.
During the event, a constructive debate was opened by journalists and representatives from the prosecutor’s office, where experiences, ideas, and attitudes were presented that would help things move in a positive direction in the future, considering that both sides work in favor of the public interest.
The president of ZNM, Mladen Chadikovski, said in his address:
“For us as journalists, and for you as representatives of the justice system, accurate information is important. Transparency and public access to justice institutions will contribute to the development of the justice system in the country. In order to get a realistic idea of the extent to which freedom of expression is protected in a legal system, it is important to take into account the regulations that guarantee it, as well as the regulations that limit it. The cooperation between journalists and prosecutors especially comes to the fore when we have new changes in Criminal Law when greater systemic protection of media workers is guaranteed. In that way, for us as an Association of Journalists, it is of great importance to establish a positive judicial practice where the rights of journalists will be protected, but the freedom of expression will not be endangered.”
The president of the Association of Public Prosecutors, Elvin Veli, said on the subject:
“I welcome ZNM’s initiative for this meeting because I think we still have room for work in this segment. The Office for Public Relations functions within the Public Prosecutor’s Office, but last year the Public Prosecutor’s Office Skopje also appointed a special prosecutor for cases related to attacks on journalists, because we are all aware that the safety of journalists is really important in a democratic society and those cases should have priority in handling. From the activities that are planned in the future within the Association of Public Prosecutors, we plan to open a media corner, and cooperate with young journalists, especially with journalists who work on this matter, we are open to proposals in the direction of how we would improve mutual communication, because in the end our goal is the same – for journalists to receive accurate information, and for the public to be informed about the action.”
Vasko Maglesov, the president of the Judicial Media Council, had his presentation on the topic where he mentioned that good communication is currently established with the judges, the process is a little more difficult with the prosecutors, but I hope that this will change in the future.
“It is necessary to establish good communication, that is, we need to trust each other in order to function. Joint trainings and seminars are a great tool to do this in a more direct and fun way, while still having a positive effect. The idea is to provide legal training for journalists in the area of legal terminology, i.e. knowledge of legal matters, such as the fact that a suspect is reported, an accused is the least that can be done, but there is room for upgrading in other parts of the legal matter as well. Our commitment is to make some recommendations, a guide for reporting from the courts specifically, but also from the criminal proceedings.”
On the part of the two associations, it was discussed to be included in the process of creating the strategies of both sides, which are currently in the draft phase, and the rest of the activities and some of the topics that will help to improve the cooperation and communication between journalists and prosecutors, as well as nurturing the capacities of journalists whose field of work is a legal matter.
The event is organized within the project “Strengthening media freedom in North Macedonia” financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and implemented by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and Free Press Unlimited in partnership with the Association of Journalists of Macedonia. The views and opinions of the participants in the event do not necessarily represent the views of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, nor of the organizations implementing the project or their local partner