Monitoring threats and attacks against journalists in North Macedonia

What is the mission of the Organization you are working for?

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), founded in 1946 (later re-registered in 1980), is a non-governmental, non-political, and non-for-profit membership-based organization with a mission to protect and promote the highest professional standards in journalism, freedom of speech, and media independence by empowering journalists to uphold their rights and advocating legal and institutional changes. AJM is committed to transparency and accountability, professionalism, and independence.

Currently, AJM has more than 600 active members – all professional journalists and media workers.

What are you to do with the grant awarded by the Global Media Defence Fund?

In the last decade, North Macedonia has witnessed higher number of attacks against journalists, from verbal attacks, insults, online harassment to physical attacks. This created an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship. Huge percentage of the attacks ended with impunity, with only a few cases in recent years ending with sanctions for the perpetrators.

The grant awarded by the Global Media Defence Fund will be used to support the monitoring, documentation, and broad exposure of the cases of threats and attacks against journalists in North Macedonia as a means of drawing the attention of the public and relevant national authorities to these cases and deterring attacks against media professionals. Also, they will be employed to assist journalists in defending and upholding their human and professional rights, by providing legal advice and support to initiate procedures before the competent institutions, such as the Ministry of Interior and/or the judiciary.

What will be the impact of this action?

The action is expected to contribute to steering adequate reaction by the competent authorities in resolving (and preventing) cases of attacks of journalists and media workers, but also to empowering the journalists to recognise and report cases of harassment, attacks, intimidation, and threats (online and offline).

The monitoring and documentation of threats and attacks against journalists through an online register will contribute to keeping the “institutional memory” updated, but also contribute to ensuring a proper follow-up by both relevant authorities and the public. The action is expected to directly support around 40-60 journalists and media workers (through the provision of) legal advice and support to initiate procedures before the competent institutions, such as the Ministry of Interior and/or the judicial authorities.

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