Skopje, 14 July 2020 (MIA) – In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) strongly condemn the cases of gross violation of the election silence by several online media on Monday (July 13), which seriously compromised the election process.
“It goes to the extent that the media, which themselves remind how to avoid election irregularities, violate the rules of election reporting with their coverage and even allow themselves to publish assessments of election results and announce non-existent, unofficial data from the voting so far. Apart from seriously violating the ethical standards and norms for elections coverage, these portals also violate the Electoral Code, which clearly states that “all forms of election media coverage of the participants in the campaign during the election silence are terminated” and that “any forms of media reporting that are openly or covertly in favour of someone’s election campaign and can impact the voters’ decision is banned.” Moreover, they undermine the election process itself, becoming a tool in the hands of political parties’ centers,” the press release said.
“These internet portals registered with the State Election Commission which are entitled to use funds for paid political advertising form the state budget, and by not respecting the fundamental principles of reporting they are put in the same basket with professional newsrooms.
We remind the media that election silence is operating to allow a period for voters to reflect on events before casting their votes. We call on the members of the registry of professional online media (www.promedia.mk) to consistently and fully respect the professional and ethical standards in reporting and not serve as a tool for political agitation and propaganda. At the same time, we urge news aggregators to seriously engage in reconsidering whether they will be providing space to a content that circumvents and ignores professional standards and legal provisions,” AJM and CMEM said in a press release.