Selmani: Police must learn that journalists are not the enemy

Skopje, 12 June, 2018 - 16:14 (META) 

The police must learn that journalists reporting from protests are not the enemy, but are also professionals on official duty, who need to be protected if attacked by participants at protests. They deserve protection, in accordance with domestic and international law, said the President of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), Naser Selmani, at a workshop in Skopje for improving the security of journalists during critical events, organized by AJM, MoI, and with support the OSCE.

“We are unanimous that violence against media workers is an unacceptable practice for a democratic country. As an important element in the functioning of democratic processes, they have the right to work in an environment free from threats and intimidation. Their mission to inform citizens and requests for reports from any government, will not be fulfilled while they work in conditions of fear and insecurity”, said Selmani.

The workshop is part of efforts to improve co-operation between journalists and the police, after the MoI and AJM signed a memorandum of cooperation last December.

Minister of Interior Oliver Spasovski said that there must be zero tolerance concerning attacks on journalists.

“Unfortunately, in the last few years we have witnessed numerous attacks and intimidation towards journalists. There is no justification for such attacks. The government’s attitude is clear and we have said it repeatedly – zero tolerance for any attempt to jeopardize freedom of speech and expression”, said Spasovski.

At the opening of the event, Jeff Goldstein, deputy head of the OSCE mission, said that violence against journalists is not just verbal and physical attacks, but also consists of unlawful detentions, destruction of property, arbitrary raids on editorial offices or in the home of journalists, hate speech, attacks via social networks and threats of sexual assault on female journalists.

Selmani to Popovski: Put your dogs on a leash before its too late

Skopje, 12 March, 2018 - 16:26 (META) 

Today, several dozen journalists protested outside the government to demand that measures be taken on threats and insults that DUI official, Bekir Asani sent to the president of the association of journalists, Naser Selmani.

At the protest, Selmani said that journalists were constantly exposed to threats and pressure and demanded that measures be taken to put an end to the violence.

“If we remain silent, and if my colleagues are silenced, you should know that your tun is coming. I am not afraid of them, I did not fear Nikola Gruevski when his thugs threatened my family, I am not afraid of the DUI thugs nor those who are silent and sitting in the same government with them”,said Selmani.

At the beginning of the protest, the Minister in charge of communications, accountability and transparency, Robert Popovski, came to the government.

Popovski told reporters that the government and all its partners in the government coalition express the strongest condemnation of all attacks on journalists.

Selmani reacted and told Popovski “to put his dogs on a leash”.

“Obviously you are not doing enough to calm us, so I tell you – put the dogs on a leash! They are your dogs, these people are part of your coalition, there is no excuse . They must be put on a leash so they cannot bite, because if they do, it will be too late”, emphasized Selmani.

Journalist organizations react: Threats against journalists are an attack on democracy

Skopje, 9 March, 2018 - 14:50 (META) 

The Macedonian Media Institute (MIM), the Media Ethics Council of Macedonia (CEMM), the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM) and the Institute for Communication Studies (ICS) today categorically denounced the threats directed against the President of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) Naser Selmani.

Yesterday, Selmani revealed that he had received death threats from people from DUI and that the MoI professionally acted upon the complaint, while the OSCE Special Representative for Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir and the entire diplomatic corps in Skopje, are treating this incident very seriously in a European context after the killings of journalists in Malta and Slovakia.

“For us, It is completely unacceptable to prevent the freedom of expression and the professional work of journalists, which should be free of any pressure and blackmail. Making threats to journalists is at the same time, an attack on democracy and limits the ability of the public to have access to information and ideas of a different kind. We urge the relevant institutions to act promptly and take the necessary measures to solve the case and prevent the recurrence of such incidents. We remind that the state, that, in accordance with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, it is responsible for undertaking all active measures in order to create and maintain a favorable climate for freedom of expression”, read the reaction from organizations and institutes.

President Ivanov’s Cabinet: Selmani has been misinformed, the certificates are for associates

Skopje, 26 February, 2018 - 19:07 (META) 

The cabinet of the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, has issued a press release that denies the information shared by the President of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJN) Naser Selmani, that the cabinet has been issuing security certificates to journalists.

The press release states that Selmani has been misinformed.

“In the process of implementation of urgent reformatory priorities regarding safety issues, including the legal obligation that the president of the Republic of Macedonia to create the defense strategy, the council is planning activities where we think experts – journalists should be included. According to legal enactments for working with classified information, the journalists must have a security certificate issued by an authorized state organ, DBKI. As part of the planned activities we expect the journalists to provide opinion about ways of informing the public about raising the consciousness and the safety culture when working with classified information because of existence of high risk of generating fake news and planned leaking of information, which is eroding the institutions” said the reaction issued by Ivanov’s cabinet.

AT today’s press conference at AJN, Selmani said that Ivanov’s cabinet has basically tied the hands to journalists by offering to issue security certificates without the possibility for them to consult how it will reflect on their job.

AJM: 18 journalists were attacked last year and no one has been held accountable

Skopje, 22 January, 2018 - 18:45 (META) 

Last year, in Macedonia, 18 attacks nf journalists were reported, of which 13 were physical and verbal attacks, while the rest were insults, obstruction at work and the destruction of property, according to the Report on the Freedom of the Media and the Safety of Journalists in Macedonia for 2017 which was presented today, by the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM).

He expressed his concern that the prosecution has so far failed to charge anyone before the courts against violence against journalists and hate speech.

Last year in Macedonia, journalists were blackmailed, persecuted, beaten, they received death threats, and were declared traitors. These thugs physically and verbally attack journalists because they want to intimidate and silence them, to prevent the public from finding about the abuse of power in government”, said AJM president, Naser Selmani.

Selmani pointed out that the most brutal physical attack on journalists was carried out during the violence that occured in Parliament on April 27th, last year.

“These thugs physically attacked journalists and cameramen and prevented them from reporting from Parliament.During the incident, their cameras and mobile telephones were confiscated. In addition, some of them, under the threat of weapons, were held hostage for hours, and the police did not provide them with any protection”, said Selmani.

The AJM report concludes that despite the lack of job security, journalists in Macedonia also work under extremely bad economic conditions. They have small and irregular wages, and they do not have permanent employment contracts,  which negatively affects their professional independence.



Journalist associations are against government legislations and they seek self-regulation

Skopje, 21 December, 2017 - 17:10 (META) 

The Macedonian journalism doesn’t need a law for media and the current one should be abolished without thinking of a new version, said Tamara Chausidis, the President of the Syndicate of the journalists and media workers of Macedonia (SSNM) during today’s debate named as “Determining the need of possible changes in the Law governing the media” that was organized by the Ministry of Information Society and Administration (MISA) and the Minister without portfolio, responsible for Communications, Accountability, and Transparency, Robert Popovski.

According to the Minister of Information Society, Damjan Manchevski and according to Popovski, the goal of the debate is for the government to hear the media guild whether it needs a change of law and to listen to the solutions for serious problems such as fake news and the issues with certain online media.

Today’s debate is only a start of a public debate where until the end of January, opinions and proposals will be sent to MISA and the cabinet of Minister Popovski.

As was indicated by the majority participants in the debate, the subjects of content theft and publishing fake news should be left to the media guild i.e. the self-regulation of journalism, and the government mustn’t interfere in the work of the journalists because in the future it might create a situation that will signify a strong control of the new government over the media, similarly to the times of VMRO-DPMNE. Additionally, it was stressed that all of the current problems can be solved through existing laws.

The AJM condemns the detainment of two journalists and wants answers from the MOI and the PPO

Skopje, 3 November, 2017 - 14:58 (META) 

The Association of Journalists in Macedonia claims that the attitude of the institutions is completely unacceptable and that their aim is to intimidate journalists and encourage self-censorship when covering certain court hearings.

Yesterday, Mahmuti and Uka, as stated in the statement by the AJM, were detained for six hours at a police station, on the grounds that they had been filming the judges during the trial. After releasing them from the police station, in a conversation with representatives of the Association, they said that the filming of the judges was just an excuse so they could be questioned because they had filmed members of the police in front of the court building.

The AJM says that the dilemma remains whether the police had a warrant for detaining the journalists because, as they claim from the Association, yesterday the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO) told them that they had not issued a warrant, however, today the Prosecution claimed the opposite.

“We ask, what contributed to the change of attitude from the Public Prosecutor’s Office”, said the AJM.

AJM: The government should urgently settle MRT’s debt so we are not cut off from the EBU

Skopje, 31 October, 2017 - 20:47 (META) 

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) called on the Government to urgently, as soon as possible, provide money to settle the debt of the Macedonian “Radio-Television” (MRT) has towards the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is approximately half a million euros.

Yesterday, at the session of the MRT Program Council, they came to the conclusion to ask the Government to settle MRT’s debt to the European Broadcasting Union.

This way, say the AJM, the danger of MRT being cut off from the European broadcasting family will be gone, which would be a huge step back in the European integration process, which additionally damages the image of the country.

“Not settleling the debt would mean that MRT will not be able to broadcast programs from any member of the EBU, no sports, matches, films, foreign shows, cartoons, or documentaries. Currently, according to information from EBU headquarters, MRT does not have access to the content that is broadcast through their services”, reads the statement by the AJM.

According to the AJM, the EBU’s reaction is a consequence of the long-term lacking of sufficient work of the public service, for which the responsible authorities should be held accountable.

“The exclusion of MRT from the EBU is the result of a non-functional model for financing the public service and bad management”, said the Association of Journalists of Macedonia.

The text was prepared within the framework of the project “Media Reform Observatory”, implemented by the “Foundation for Internet and Society – Metamorphosis”, “Agora” – Centre for Promoting Civil Values and the Platform for Investigative Journalism and Analysis (PINA), with financial support from the “Foundation Open Society – Macedonia.” The content of the text is the sole responsibility of the authors and in no way does it reflect the views of the “Open Society Foundation – Macedonia”.foom-logo-disklejmer

Zaev: MRT shall be an independent media, with an independent manager and independent editors

tTtovo, 6 October, 2017 - 14:39 (META) 

The assets that will be used from the state budget and diverted to the Macedonian Radio Television (MRTV) will be used for providing an independence of the national service, said the SDSM’s party leader and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev during yesterday’s political rally in Tetovo as part of the local election campaign.

-Up to 80.000 -100.000 accounts are being blocked on a monthly basis due to the payment of the broadcasting fee. We have canceled this fee and no one will receive a bill for the broadcasting fee and have his account blocked.You are paying taxes and from the budget, we shall divert all those assets for the Macedonian Radio-television and they shall be paid at the start of each month between the 1st and the 5th. It will not depend on either Dragan Tevdovski, the Minister of Finance, or Zoran Zaev or anyone that will come after us. There shall be an independent medium, with an independent manager, with independent editors because the independence of other media will depend on the independence of MRTV. If we have an independent media there shall be a consciousness in Macedonia they shall be looking upon matters independently and neither Zaev nor anyone will be able to steal again from the state -said Zaev.

AJM is struggling with fake news with the Code of Ethics from 2001

Skopje, 3 October, 2017 - 16:35 (META) 

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia sent copies of the Code Journalists of Macedonia to all the media registered in the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services.

“The AJM Code of Ethics was adopted in 2001 and was first distributed to all media in the country. Due to recent developments and upcoming local elections, the need for its re-representation emerged. As in other professions, as well as in journalism, ethical principles based on the organization’s core values and the standards to which the professional is held. By respecting these 17 principles and ethical values, journalists take responsibility for the information they transmit, regardless of which medium they work for”, the AJM statement read.

They added that by promoting ethical standards in reporting, they contribute to the fight against false news and media propaganda.

“The Code of Journalists of Macedonia was developed in six languages (Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Vlach, Romani and English) and will be delivered to all media according to the language in which they operate”, added the AJM.

The Association says that this activity is part of the project titled “Network of Journalists for Media Freedom”, which is funded by the European Union.

Disclaimer: The text was prepared within the framework of the project “Media Reform Observatory”, implemented by the Foundation for Internet and foom-logo-disklejmerSociety – Metamorphosis, Agora – Center for Promoting Civil Values and the Platform for Investigative Journalism and Analysis (PINA), with financial support from the “Open Society Foundation – Macedonia” Foundation.
The content of the text is the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be considered to reflect the views of the “Open Society Foundation – Macedonia”.