The unprecedented and insolent attitude followed by threats to lawsuits against journalists shadowed today’s press conference held by Dragi Rashkovski, Secretary General of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia. Such direct threats to initiate judicial proceedings against journalists by government officials are a pressure on journalists that may result with self-censorship.
The Secretary General of the Government needs to know that by not responding to journalistic questions during the press conference, which was organized personally by him, but also with the impassioned attitude towards certain journalists present at the event, it violates the concept of openness and transparency that the Government is trying to promote.
We remind Rashkovski that if he is dissatisfied with the ethical standards of a specific journalistic or media product, then he can make a complaint to the media self-regulatory bodies.
The high representatives of the Government, but also the public figures that are part of the political scene, need to have higher level of tolerance when they are criticized by journalists. They need to know that lawsuits for defamation and insult to journalists are an unpopular method which was used in the past, and it has negatively affected the freedom of expression and contributed to Macedonia being poorly rated on the world media freedom indexes.