Valentina Fidanovska, member of the Commission for Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information, and Zorz Popovski head of Unit at the Commission Secretariat participated in the work of today’s conference entitled “Freedom of speech and freedom of expression”.
Divided into two plenary sessions with a dozen panelists, the conference was held under the auspices of the EU by Technical Support to Civil Society Organizations (TACSO). Its purpose was to encourage civil society organizations to engaged actively in the public debate in regards to the freedom of expression, media reforms and freedom of speech.
Pointing out numerous weaknesses in the media, the head of the European Union in Macedonia, Orav, recommended said that Brussels is an important freedom of information in the country for which the EU has given a grant of two million euros for media and another 800,000 euros Agency audio and audiovisual services.
Mr.Zoran Trajchevski, Director of the Agency for audio and audiovisual media services, acknowledged the decline of professional standards in the Macedonian media is not an occurance that has occured overnight – rather, it is something that lasts for 20 years. He refered to the hate speech that is presently occurring, especially on web portals in the same context be stressed the warnings for hate speech issued by the Agency, presenting cases from the 10 years where the Agency reacted and issued warings.
From the discussion arose conclusion were it was concluded that the freedom of expression and media environment remain as two serious challenge for all stakeholders, since there is an evident absence of balanced and fair reporting, not making difference between what is business, political and private interest and what constitutes professional journalism, self-censorship of journalists and lack of opportunity for full public access to information. Also, the financing of the media, the division of the community of journalists, and strong hate speech are evident areas where there is a lack of transparency for which sanctions should be issued even by the prosecution or the courts, as stated at the conference.