Setting strategies to improve working conditions for journalists

How to shape the future of journalists’ trade unions and associations in the Western Balkans and Turkey? The EFJ’s Labour Rights Expert Group Plus (LAREG+), composed of representatives from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, convened on the 10th of April 2018 in Skopje (Macedonia) to reflect on a one-year strategic plan to improve journalists’ working conditions in the region.

Following the meeting, participants agreed to draft a one-year strategic plan which will set priorities to improve journalists’ working conditions in the Western Balkans and Turkey. In addition, a LAREG+ magazine will be published and a video campaign as well as a photo exhibition will be launched in May 2018.

The EFJ delegation has also met Damjan Manchevski, Macedonian minister of Information Society and Administration, to discuss the upcoming law on information to be adopted next week by the Parliament and the regulation on access to public documents. The minister talked about the possibility to afford tax cuts for print media organisations “but this government will not intervene financially to give cash to media companies in difficulties. We want to take our hands off the media sphere”, he added. The minister also confirmed his intention to enlarge the access to public documents for journalists and citizens in Macedonia and announced the launch of a new opendata portal to promote transparency and accountability in the country. On the issue of fake news, the minister is open to support new propositions coming from EFJ affiliates (ZNM and SSNM) to combat off-shore-owned news portals that make money by distributing fake news online. “Self-regulation is our preferred option to identify journalists or non journalists”, said Mr. Manchevski.