Skopje, 24 August 2019 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services calls on all politicians to restrain from lawsuits against the media and avoid jeopardizing the freedom of expression. The announcements about filing charges pose direct pressure on the work of the media, particularly when the latter report on topics of considerable public interest.
Media are the guardians of public interest and creators of public awareness. Therefore, they must publish comprehensive and verified information, in the public’s interest. As stated in the Council of Europe’s Declaration on Freedom of Political Debate in the Media, “the right to freedom of expression brings with itself obligations and responsibilities which media workers must take into account”.
At the same time, the Agency reminds the representatives of the government that by the very act of accepting the office they have accepted to be subject to public political critique through the media with regard to the manner in which they perform their duties.
The Agency constantly appeals to use the right to correction or reply first, instead of immediately resorting to lawsuits against journalists and media outlets, particularly when it comes to holders of public offices.