The Metamorphosis Foundation celebrating 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, underlines that the COVID-19 pandemics which marked the days since the beginning of this years has pinpointed to the necessity of providing credible reporting and information and to the necessity of waging continuous war against the disinformation.

The World Press Freedom Day this year is being celebrated for the 27th time.

Reminding that on the occasion of today’s World Press Freedom Day – 3 May, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the journalists “the antidote to the pandemics of disinformation resulting from the crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus” Metamorphosis Foundation stresses that North Macedonia is not immune to this hazard.

“On the contrary, the influx of disinformation related to COVID-19 is extremely high in the Macedonian media and on social networks to the extent that it can lead to the spread of the infection and cause unnecessary casualties among those citizens who trust and follow unfounded and unscientific advice given by various quasi-doctors and spread through unprofessional media and thousands of social media profiles,” Metamorphosis pronounces.

The Metamorphosis Foundation has long ago perceived the negative consequences that can result from an influx of disinformation and the need for accurate, verified and credible information, which at the time of COVID-19 pandemic proved to be extremely important. Over the past decade, Metamorphosis has developed a rich media program that in recent years has grown into a special part of the foundation’s work under the name Media for Democracy.

This program aims to provide information based on facts. This includes working on a media literacy education plan and developing critical thinking via Crithink, fact-checking in the media via proverkanafakti.mk, accountability and transparency via vistinomer.mk, as well as accurate and verified reporting, data analysis and visualization via meta.mk and portalb.mk.

The foundation reminds of its research which has identified problems with media reforms in four main areas:
• There is no strategy for the media sector and no intentions to prepare such a strategy;
• There is insufficient political will among all relevant political stakeholders in the government and the opposition to completely distance themselves from the influence on the editorial policy of the media;
• Reforms in the public broadcasting sector, primarily in the MRT/NRT Public Broadcaster and in the AAVMU regulatory agency have not been implemented, although the legal preconditions were fulfilled more than a year ago;
• Required by the media themselves, the major private broadcasters, but also newspapers and portals to non-selectively receive funding or other subsidies directly from the budget, from local government, from public enterprises or joint-stock companies of state or mixed ownership.

Metamorphosis Foundation for Internet and Society considers that the direct allocation of public funds puts the media in a position that leads to undermining editorial independence and media freedom, to the disruption of integrity and increased political influence.

The foundation expresses its gratitude to all fellow journalists, friends, partners and donors for their support in protecting media freedom and providing open, secure and equal access to information that can be trusted both online and offline in these critical times.