Skopje, 7 February 2022 – Concerning the Draft-Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation, which has entered its first phase of reading in the Parliament of RNM, the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services points out that calling to responsibility for an expressed “negative opinion”, in the way it has been defined, is contrary to all democratic practices and may result in media self-censorship.

The possibility of sanctioning due to an expressed negative opinion leaves room for abuse and punishment of media professionals. Journalists are the voice of the public and, in the course of their work, they often criticize certain policies or phenomena in society, thus encouraging public debate and contributing to greater responsibility, accountability and transparency on the part of government officials.

The right to freedom of expression is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The same is also guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. This right includes freedom to hold opinions and seek, receive and impart information and ideas, without the interference of the public  authorities.