For the past three weeks (from January 15 until 6th of February), state officials have displayed belittling, unprofessional, and arrogant behavior towards journalists during press conferences in North Macedonia.
For the past 3-4 years, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) has observed cases of inappropriate communication from state officials towards journalists in the country, but those were isolated incidents. However, in the past three weeks such communication has occurred five times. AJM has reacted to all the five cases – Continued trend of shameless outbursts by state officials towards journalists; Ali Ahmeti must not label media; Unprecedented labeling of the media by Prime Minister Kovacevski; AJM reacts to the attitude of MES officials towards the journalist Qerimi and State officials again attack journalists – this behavior must stop!
”This attitude towards journalists and media workers by those who should set an example of positive communication will not only have a negative impact on the public in our state but will also undoubtedly have a negative assessment in the reports of the European Commission as of other credible organizations. Therefore, this practice must stop and all stakeholders in the public debate must show respect and professional attitude towards journalists and media workers.”, said Mladen Chadikovski, President of AJM.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) also condemned the inappropriate behavior of public figures and reminded them of the moral obligations that go with public office.
SafeJournalists Network, representing more than 8,200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, condemns behavior of those in a position of power and authority, and calls on state officials not to judge and disrespect journalists for doing their job and asking questions of interest to the public. Authorities are elected by citizens and as such are responsible to them and to journalists who inform citizens about developments in the country. Also, they have to cultivate a culture of tolerance and show readiness for cooperation.
SafeJournalists network will inform all relevant national and international stakeholders about these cases.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and rights of all citizens.
Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Skopje – Zagreb, 09.02.2023
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
BH Journalists Association
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro