In the past two days, some of the MPs of VMRO DPMNE as well as the MP from the Left in their statements labelled Telma TV as “regime television” and insults and humiliation were referred directly or indirectly at the journalists and editors of this national television.
Public labelling of the media and journalists, especially by senior representatives of political parties and MPs, threatens media freedom and promotes attempts for censorship and self-censorship.
The right to political debate and the right to freedom of expression, especially in the Assembly of the RNM, are important principles through which the MPs are expected to pass quality laws through arguments and constructive debates. The abuse of these rights by politicians for public confrontation with journalists and the media negatively affects the freedom of the media, disqualifies the journalistic dignity of professional journalists and, in addition, demonstrates political ignorance in public discourse. In addition, this aggressive speech encourages supporters of these political parties to further calculate, but also to threaten journalists, especially on social networks on the Internet.
This verbal attack directed at our colleagues from Telma TV additionally represents violation of the Code of Ethics for MPs. AJM reminds the MPs that they have duty to respect the Code which in Article 6 says: “MPs should not use words and expressions that will hurt or disparage other people, human dignity and cause hatred, intolerance and violence.”
We appeal to the MPs and all political actors that if they think that certain media outlet violates professional standards, they can always submit complaint to the Council for Media Ethics in Macedonia and to the Council of Honour at AJM. We remind you that editorial and journalistic independence is inviolable and it must not be under the pressure of politicians or the owners of media owners. We urge journalists to stay away from business and political interests, guided only by the principles of professional and ethical reporting and the public interest.