North Macedonia: project promotes awareness of ethical standards in journalism and media self-regulation

The Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM), a media self-regulatory body, implemented a project focused on awareness-raising activities for recognizing tendentious and unprofessional reporting. It did so through an active partnership with the civil society sector and the media at a local level to build media literacy skills among the younger population.

The project is part of the sub-granting scheme of the regional project »Media for Citizens, Citizens for Media«, implemented in 5 countries of the Western Balkans. The aim of the projects is to increase the CSOs’ capacities for promotion of MIL practices and policies at a local level.

In this series we present a number of implemented projects.

The CMEM project titled ‘Towards media “awareness” and effective media self-regulation by building networks of collaboration’ involved the following main activities:

  • An educational video on violation of reporting standards published on CMEM’s site and social media (in Macedonian and Albanian). More than 46.000 users viewed the video and got familiar with instances of violation of reporting standards.
  • 3 debates for CSOs, young activists, journalists and media representatives were held in the cities of Prilep, Tetovo, and Strumica, involving more than 90 participants (media representatives, CSOs representatives, young people and representatives of public institutions). Four educative / informative flyers about the Journalists’ Code of Ethics were distributed to the participants.
  • flyer presenting Article 1 of the Journalists’ Code of Ethics was promoted on social media and CMEM’s website
  • 30 articles and TV packages were published and aired referring to questions raised by the audience on how self-regulation works, what the most common breaches of the Code of Journalists are, how media can contribute to addressing hate speech and discrimination etc.

A social media campaign (on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and CMEM’s website) promoted the project activities and outputs reaching approximately 34.000 users.  

All activities within the project – debates, video and flyers – were utilized as an opportunity to convey the message that commitment to the process of self-regulation is a mechanism for improving access to the expression of the public’s voice in the media.

Channeling of citizens’ active participation in the process of media reporting was communicated as an imperative for efficient media self-regulation alongside the idea that media should serve as a platform for democratic debate. 

Cases presented by the Council of Media Ethics motivated participants in the debates to share their own examples of reporting standards violations and voice their concerns. The participants also shared examples of interesting good practice to improve media access for a variety of groups.

Participants in the debates identified a number of concerns regarding breaches of ethical standards and the existence of disinformation in the media reporting.  The most often mentioned issues included bias reporting, lack of diverse perspectives in media reports, absence of some important issues and stories, misuse of media for propaganda purposes.

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The regional program “Media for Citizens – Citizens for Media: Strengthening the Capacity of NGOs for the Development of Media and Information Literacy in the Western Balkans” is implemented with the support of the European Union by partner organizations Mediacentar SarajevoAlbanian Media Institute,Macedonian Institute for MediaMontenegrin Media InstituteNovi Sad School of JournalismPeace InstituteSEENPM.