AJM and SSNM are requesting a Special Department for the protection of journalists within the Public Prosecutor’s Office

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The President of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia – AJM together with the President of the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM) Pavle Belovski today met with the Chief of the Skopje Public Prosecutor’s Office Gavril Bubevski.

At the meeting, Chadikovski stressed that the establishment of a new department within the Public Prosecutor’s Office is extremely important for the promotion of cooperation and communication as it will be in charge to deal only with cases related to violation of the rights of journalists and media workers, their safety as well as explicit hate speech against them. Belovski stressed that although the safety of journalists and media workers in the country has improved in the past, the fact remains that the perception of the degree of impunity of attackers on journalists and media workers remains high and this needs to be addressed.

Dragan Sekulovski, Director of AJM stressed that the BPPO has an obligation to follow the recommendations of the Council of Europe for greater protection of journalists, especially Recommendation CM / Rec (2016) 41 from the Committee of Ministers to member states on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and others media actors. According to this recommendation, Macedonia as a member state of the Council of Europe has an obligation to create mechanisms for the protection of media workers when their rights are violated and while the amendments to the Criminal Code are expected to be voted, this Special Department within the BPPO is a good model for the protection of journalists, said Sekulovski. In addition, Sekulovski pointed out that in order to reduce the level of impunity, the Public Prosecutor’s Office needs to investigate old cases in which threats to the lives of journalists are recorded, as well as to be proactive in cases where journalists are subject to explicit hate speech and threats on social networks.

The Chief of the Skopje Prosecutor’s Office Gavril Bubevski expressed his satisfaction that these constructive proposals by the trade unions are acceptable and in the future as an institution will try to respond positively to the requests of AJM and SSNM.

At meeting were also discussed the promotion of transparency in the work of prosecutors, the appointment of prosecutors to work on cases involving only journalists and media workers, as well as the improvement of mutual cooperation on issues of common interest and the possibility of signing a joint memorandum of cooperation.