Yesterday, the Council of Europe issued a public warning on its platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists, regarding several amendments to the Electoral Code which could jeopardize the work and freedom of the media in Macedonia. The warning says that the Macedonian state is the source of such a threat to the freedom of the media, reports the Association of Journalists of Macedonia.
The warning follows AJM’s demands to the Council of Europe’s platform, who in their reaction refer to the joint statement made by the AJM, the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and the Ethics Council.
“Several amendments to the Electoral Code were passed on 25 July 2018 by the Macedonian Parliament in a fast-track procedure, as a result of a political agreement between the leaders of the four main political parties. An amendment to the Electoral Code empowers the State Election Commission to register and monitor online media reporting on the elections. In addition, the Article 181a of the law provides for fines of up to 4,000 Euros to traditional and online media for their ‘unbalanced or impartial reporting’”, warns the Council of Europe on the platform.
The warning was addressed to the Macedonian Parliament, which is expected to clarify these changes that limit the freedom of the media in the coming period.
The Council of Europe have set the alarm concerning restrictive changes to the media in the Electoral Code.