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Monday, August 20, 2018, 

CoE warns of restrictive media related amendments to Electoral Code

CoE warns of restrictive media related amendments to Electoral Code

Skopje, 10 August 2018 (MIA) – The Council of Europe (CoE)’s platform for promoting the protection of journalism and safety of journalists published yesterday a public warning related to the restrictive amendments to the Electoral Code, which may have unfavorable effect on media freedom in Macedonia, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia said in press release on Friday.

“Several amendments to the Electoral Code were passed on 25 July 2018 by the Macedonian Parliament in a fast-track procedure, as a result of a political agreement between the leaders of the four main political parties. An amendment to the Electoral Code empowers the State Election Commission to register and monitor online media reporting on the elections. In addition, the Article 181a of the law provides for fines of up to 4,000 Euros to traditional and online media for their ‘unbalanced or impartial reporting’, reads the CoE warning.

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia, the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers and the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia have criticised the new Electoral Code as interference by public authorities in the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas during electoral campaigns and in their editorial independence.

The associations of journalists recalled that while the media have a duty to inform the public in a fair and professional manner, this can be achieved through self-regulatory measures, setting out guidelines, codes of conduct and professional standards, rather than through decisions of politically-appointed electoral bodies. lk/16:16

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