Prime Minister Zaev, Deputy Prime Minister Osmani, Minister Manchevski and Minister Popovski Marked the World Press Freedom Day

Skopje, May 3rd, 2019

Today, the President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, participated in the event marking the World Press Freedom Day, held at the MPs’ Club and organized by the Secretariat for European Affairs as part of the activities aimed to mark the European Days in the month of May.  

In addition to the Deputy President of the Government in charge of European issues, Bujar Osmani, who hosted the event, the briefing with editors and journalists also noted attendance by the Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damjan Manchevski, and the Minister without Portfolio in charge of communications, transparency and accountability, Robert Popovski.

The event also included a thematic press-conference, whereby Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani and Ministers Manchevski and Popovski issued media statements.

Congratulating the World Press Day to editors, journalists and all media workers, Deputy Prime Minister Osmani asked media for their support in the final steps in the European integration process.

“For 30 years we have been running a marathon titled membership in European and Euro-Atlantic structures. We are literally mere steps from the goal called initiation of EU accession negotiations, without which the marathon cannot be completed”, stressed Osmani, focusing on the symbolic steps citizens have to walk to the polling stations that would ensure successful presidential elections, as final steps leading the country toward EU accession negotiations.

“Only successful elections wherein citizens would choose a president with a census, would be a guarantee for democratic and institutional maturity of the country, as confirmation for long-term political stability, whereby any opportunity to have a differing interpretation of the progress would be removed and the progress would have to be verified by the onset of negotiations”, noted Osmani.

In his speech, the Minister of Information Society and Administration, Manchevski, focused on amendments to the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services, which were adopted despite attempts from the opposition to block the process thereof.

“The Law on AVMS, as legal grounds that guarantees freedom of media, provides a professional and transparent election of MRTV Programme Council members, as well as professionalization of AVMS. For the first time, election criteria are introduced so to elect professionals to lead the reform and develop policies in the media sphere. These two bodies are of significant importance, given that MRTV, as public service must serve as an example of professionalism and journalism freed from any and all pressures. On the other hand, AVMS, as an independent regulator, must be professional in its provision of ratings, guidelines and criticism towards media that deviate from the rules required by professional journalism”, said Minister Manchevski.

In his media statement, he Minister without Portfolio in charge of communications, transparency and accountability, Robert Popovski, stressed the fact that the media sphere in North Macedonia, for the first time in a decade, has been freed from political pressure and that, today, the number of texts that include criticism is higher than that of texts for praise – of each issue important to citizens, as a result of free media.

“Today, the media are vocal. They are not silenced as they were during the state capture. And they need to be vocal. It is no secret that the created atmosphere of open government and vocal media is meaningful to us. We participate in that process. The Media Freedom Index Report 2017 of Reporters Without Borders noted promotion of media freedoms in our state. In the 2018 Report of Reporters Without Borders, North Macedonia demonstrated a significant progress, moving from 109 place in 2017 to 95th place now. This is the best result on media freedom noted in North Macedonia in the last five years. We will continue to work on ensuring that this positive trend continues”, noted Minister Popovski, adding that one of the Government policies’ top priorities is the open government concept, as a necessity for democratization of the media ambience and for support of free and professional journalism, active transparency and accessibility.

The World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on May 3rd each year, whereby a number of activities are organized world-wide, under the auspices of UNESCO and the United Nations. The activities bear a different name each year and are organized in a different host-country. This year, the motto of the event marking this day is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections during Times of Misinformation”, and the host-country is Ethiopia.

This is the second year that the Secretariat for European hosts the event marking the Press Freedom Day as part of the celebration of European Days in the month of May. As they announced, they expect that this would continue as a tradition.

Ministry of Information Society and Administration