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.

AJM: Irresponsible conduct of certain judges is an attempt to license the media and journalists

Skopje, 8 May, 2018 - 20:23 (META) 

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia is unsatisfied with the way the Civil Court and the Appellate Court in Skopje apply the Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation, said the president of the AJM, Naser Selmani at a press conference.

He added that “despite the clear specifications in the law, which regulates the responsibility of electronic publications, the courts continue to reject defamation lawsuits against online media outlets with complete unseriousness and with the biased claim that they were not real media groups, and the people who work there were not real journalists. ”

“The irresponsible and unprofessional conduct of certain judges is an attempt to license the media and journalists, which is an extremely undemocratic practice present in authoritarian countries. We must point out that the work of the courts is not to interpret the law, but to consistently and indiscriminately implement them. We suspect that behind this practice by the Skopje Civil Court and the Appellate Court, there is a political background, with the aim to discredit the online media and to deliver a false alibi, so the government introduce tougher regulation, contrary to European standards for freedom of the Internet”, expained Selmani.

He warned that “attempts by certain circles within political parties, who seek a so called legal registration of these media outlets, is a dangerous political game, whose aim is for the state to control media content.”

“Furthermore, it is the court’s intention to prevent the online media and journalists working there from using the benefits offered by the Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation, such as the limitation of non-pecuniary damage and the grounds for their exclusion from liability. We are convinced that this unusual law practice, which fortunately does not exist in other appellate courts in the country, endangers freedom of speech and discredits the journalistic profession and the role of the media in a democratic society”, added Selmani.

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.

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.

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 Government is surprised by Naser Selmani who expects decisive action and not promises

Skopje, 22 November, 2017 - 18:48 (META) 

The Government of Macedonia expressed its surprise because of the criticism expressed by the President of the AJM, Naser Selmani who said that the current government has tendencies that resemble the behavior of the previous governments.

Apparently, while replying to a question about today’s statement by Minister Damjan Manchevski, when he attended Metamorphosis’ “E-society” press conference, that the government mustn’t act as a driving engine of the reforms in the media sphere and the draft bill for audio and audiovisual services, AJN’s president said that the politicians mustn’t be trusted.

-It’s a bland platitude, but they are doing the opposite to what they are saying because there are tendencies that resemble the behavior of previous governments – said Selmani.

When he was told that they are surprised by his statement, Selmani said for Meta agency that the government should prove its claims by proposing a definite draft bill that will not contain fines.

We are journalists. We don’t believe in words as we do in acts. When the law passes at the government then I shall say “bravo.” In the last seven years, I heard plenty of similar promises – said Selmani.

Selmani: All we hear from Manchevski is empty phrases, the Government wants to rule the media

Skopje, 22 November, 2017 - 18:42 (META) 

“The law is too detailed, it has been infantilized, caricatured, to the point where it determines which programme should be aired and when. It limits the freedom of expression and, moreover, introduces censorship and auto censorship in the media”, said Katerina Kolozova from the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje (ISSH) at today’s presentation of their report titled

“Assessment of the effects of the existing regulation on audio and audiovisual services over the editorial freedom”.

At the press conference attended by Naser Selmani, head of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), Kolozova noted that the provisions of the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services are proof of the phenomenon of “state capture”, where the executive power is given excessive control over the media through excessive legal regulation.

While answering a journalistic question regarding today’s statement by the Minister Damjan Manchevski made at Metamorphosis’ e-Society conference, who said that the Government should not be the engine of reforms in the media sphere and the proposed law on audio and audiovisual services, the AJM’s head said that politicians should not be trusted.

“It’s all empty words, they act contrary to such pledges, because there are tendencies that resemble the conduct of previous governments,” Selmani said.

He reiterated the requirements of AJM for repealing the fines in the new proposed law amending the law on audio and audiovisual media services and demanded that the state no longer interfere with the regulation of private media, but rather leave their content to be in accordance with the preferences of viewers.

“In Macedonia, the private broadcasting media outlets are excessively regulated. The state interferes too much, which affects the program scheme and the content, as well as the financial condition of the media. Our recommendation is for the state to leave the kind of program that will aired to the preferences of the viewers, and not the politicians,” Selmani said.

He, as well as Kolozova, stated that the new proposed law must be fine-free, and the Government should leave the media to self-regulate instead of imposing rules.


The text is made within the framework of the project “Media Reform Observatory”, implemented by the Foundation for Internet and Society Metamorphosis, “Agora” Center for Promoting Civil Values ​​and the Platform for Investigative Journalism and Analyzes – PINA, with the financial support of the “Foundation Open” Society – Macefoom-logo-disklejmerdonia “.           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”.

Selmani: The government wants to act like an editor in chief with the media

Skopje, 17 November, 2017 - 16:57 (META) 

For the Association of the Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), the idea where the Government will be regulating the media content is absolutely unacceptable, stressed the President of AJN, Naser Selmani, during the meeting with OSCE’s new General Secretary Thomas Greminger, who is visiting the country.

“it is contrary to the best practices in the European democracies,” said Selmani and he stressed that imposing fines about the ways journalists report shows that the Government wants to act as an editor in chief with the media.

According to Selmani, the Government hasn’t shown any desire for a real debate with arguments about the model od financing the Macedonian Radio Television.”

“If the Government knows in advance that 0,7% of the state budget will have to be given to MRT then what would be the point of the debate about the law,” asked Selmani, as was stated in the announcement of the meeting.

AJM: Steep fall of media freedom and worsening of the journalists’ status

Skopje, 13 April, 2017 - 16:26 (META) 

“In 2016, the government has used all of the government’s available instruments to limit the freedom of speech and to control the media. It is awarding the docile media with public assets while the critical journalists are constantly attacked and are exposed to various types of pressure said Naser Selmani, the president of the Association of Journalists in Macedonia (AJM).

AJM’s president presented numbers for spending assets from the budget on media.

-Last year, the ministries and municipalities in Macedonia have spent around one and a half million of euros on printed and internet media including regional and local media. Around 400.000 euros were spent in the first half of last year while more than one million of euros were planned to be spent in the second half. Also, out of 80 municipalities, only 42 have provided information about planned assets for spending in the second half of 2016 – said Selmani.

A record – breaker is the Ministry of information society and administration which has spent around 700.000 euros.

The second half of the assets of the ministries and municipalities are spent on advertising and newspaper subscriptions. The municipalities that have paid most assets on these activities were the municipalities of Bitola and Gostivar with around 60.000 euros i.e. 50.000 euros annually.

The ministries that have paid the least assets on newspaper subscriptions was the Ministry of Interior that in 2016 for that purpose has paid more than 50.000 euros.

Selmani said that in the last four years more than 40 journalists were attacked. Around half of the attacks have occurred in 2016, and most of the incidents remain as unsolved and none of the attackers were punished.

-The only bright light in this report is the improvement of the judicial practice of filing a lawsuit for a libel of character against the journalists. Unlike 2012, when there were more than 320 lawsuits for a libel against journalists, last year that number was 50 – said Selmani.

Bozinovski on Hunger Strike, AJM and EFJ Call For His Immediate Release

Skopje, 23 September, 2016 - 16:00 (META) 

Jailed journalist, Zoran Bozinovski started a hunger strike on September 14, due to the unjust extention of his pretrial detention and his court case, said today the President of the Association of Journalists in Macedonia, Naser Semani.

He said even though prison authorities knew of the hunger strike, they did not share the information with his lawyer or the Ombudsman.

“We call on Judge Sandra Krstic to immediately terminate our fellow colleague Bozinovski’s detention, otherwise we will hold her responsible for any consequences to his health or his life. Also, we call on the Ombudsman to visit Bozinovski in prison and to warn the institutions with haste of the consequences if they do not act adequately to the situation”, said Selmani.

He added that there is no doubt that the process against Bozinovski is a political process, so the Government can silence a journalist.
Also supporting the release of Zoran Bozinovski, is Ricardo Gutiérrez, the Secretary General of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). He said he supports the AJM’s demand for Bozinovski to be released immediately.

“Although we asked the Criminal Court’s permission to visit Bozinovski, we did not recieve an answer. We have reported this case to the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection of Journalists. So far, Macedonia on have eight reported cases of journalists being  intimidated or were arrested, which is more than double the number in Albania, who have reported only four cases. The Macedonian government signed, on April 13, the Recommendation of the Council of Europe on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. My question to the Government is: what have you done to improve the situation for journalists in your country?” Stated Gutiérrez.

Selmani will not exclude any possibilities that will aid their intentions to release Bozinovski.