Skopje, 13 July 2020 (MIA) – Attacks or threats against journalists are unacceptable and should be condemned. Journalists need to be able to do their job free of violence, harassment and intimidation, the European Commission said in a statement on Monday, following verbal attacks and hate speech on social media directed at Tanja Milevska, MIA’s correspondent from Brussels.
“A free press is a cornerstone of democracy and in Europe’s DNA. Democracy cannot work without free and independent media and respect for freedom of expression is essential,” reads the EC statement.
The Commission expects the relevant authorities to ensure an effective follow-up of all instances of physical and verbal violence against journalists.
Over the weekend, the Association of Journalists (ZNM), the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM) and the Council of Media Ethics (SEMM) strongly condemned the hate speech and death threats posted on Twitter against Milevska.
“As journalists’ organizations we point out the fact that hate speech and direct threats are covered under the Criminal Code and it is the duty of the institutions – primarily the Interior Ministry and the Public Prosecutor’s Office – to investigate them. We note that the safety of journalists and the right to free speech go hand in hand alongside the democratic principles of a country. Such public discourse in which journalists are being blatantly attacked, including direct death treats, must not be allowed in a democratic society,” the organizations say in a statement.