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.