AJM, CEMM, SSNM and MIM: condemnation of hate speech on social networks after the publication of an article in the portal “Lider.mk”

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Skopje, 13.11.2020 –

The Association of Journalists (AJM), the Council for Media Ethics of Macedonia (CEMM), the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM) and the Macedonian Media Institute (MIM) condemn the hate speech against the team of the NGO “Metamorphosis” which is intensively spread on social networks after the publication of an article in the portal “Lider.mk” entitled ” (PHOTO) these are the people who delete content from Facebook in North Macedonia”.

Irresponsible publication of such prejudiced content, which does not respect the basic rules of journalistic reporting, including invasion of privacy and non-contact of the affected party, not only causes great damage to the reputation of the employees of this organization, but also endangers security through explicit calls on social networks for public lynching and physical liquidation. The same consequences are caused by the media that decided to republish the text of “Lider.mk”. Also disturbing is the fact that the text is shared on social media profiles of political entities in the country.

All media that publish content on social networks, at the same time, are responsible for removing comments that contain explicit hate speech, and the same goes for “Lider.mk”.

At the same time, we request the Ministry of Interior to conduct an urgent investigation to determine the identity of the persons who incited hate speech through comments on social networks, and then the Public Prosecutor’s Office to initiate a case through which they will be sanctioned, in accordance with the Criminal Code. These two institutions need to understand the seriousness of the impunity for hate speech in the Republic of North Macedonia, which must stop in order to avoid acts of hate speech. The frequent presence of hate speech has imposed the need to confront this phenomenon in a systematic and common approach.

All the efforts by the professional journalistic and media community would be in useless if there is no response from the institutions that are competent to sanction hate speech.