The current challenges to the creation of a press council in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were thoroughly discussed by representatives of the country’s media organizations during a roundtable in Skopje on 6 June 2013. The event was organized by the Macedonian Institute for Media with support from UNESCO and the South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM).
According to Macedonian media experts, the digitalization process and the online environment increasingly trigger the need for better media professionalism. Peter Saracini, programme manager of the Macedonian Institute for Media, said that “the professional standards of journalists need to be further strengthened in the country following the digital transformation of media and the lack of proper education or training among media professionals at all levels.”
In this context, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia initiated in 2010 the establishment of a Council of Ethics for Media, a tripartite self-regulatory body composed of representatives of editors and journalists, media owners and representatives of civil society in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Throughout 2012, this association held consultations with a number of editors and media owners, as well as with its own members, about the importance of self-regulation and the variety of models that could be applied in the country.
“These discussions are pioneering steps for media self-regulation in the country,” said Tamara Grncarovska, member of the managing board of the Journalists Association of Macedonia. “We hope that a press council will soon be established and will include online media.”
In addition to media self-regulation, the roundtable participants discussed the extent and nature of hate speech in online media in the country and how it can be addressed by media accountability mechanisms.
The event took place in the framework of the EU-UNESCO project, Media Accountability in South East Europe, which started in January 2013.