The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) appeals to all political actors participating in the early parliamentary elections, as well as to the State Election Commission, and civil society organizations that have the role of observers, to organize public events and activities with the consistent observance of all health protocols.
Journalists and media workers have an extremely important role in informing citizens about pre-election activities and programs of political parties. Through professional information, journalists and the media help voters decide for who to vote, and this will be especially evident in these elections, given the health crisis and the fact that party campaigns and activities will be organized primarily in the media and on social media.
Therefore, we ask all participants in the election process, who will organize press conferences and other events to inform journalists, to respect health protocols when conducting these activities. This means that the organizer will have to organize the events for the journalists in the open air, if the weather conditions allow it, or to provide a room in which the appropriate distance between all participants will be guaranteed.
At the same time, for additional protection of journalists and media workers, the organizers need to provide protection equipment (masks, gloves, and disinfectants) for all present. This is especially important in conditions when the health crisis caused by COVID-19 in our country has worsened and there is an increasing number of newly infected citizens in recent weeks.
We appeal to the owners and managers of the media that they also should provide safe conditions for journalists and media workers in the workplace, but also in the field. AJM recently published guidelines for safe and professional reporting in a pandemic, and it can be downloaded at the following link.
In the end, we remind our colleagues that they have an obligation to professionally report on the entire election process while respecting the Code of Ethics. More information about ethical and legal rules for reporting on elections is available on the new Guidelines for ethical coverage of elections.