Back Steering towards freedom of expression in line with European standards

Steering towards freedom of expression in line with European standards

Underscoring the commitment to safeguarding freedom of expression and media in North Macedonia, the second Steering Committee Meeting under the joint EU  and Council of Europe action on "Protecting freedom of expression and of the media in North Macedonia" (PRO-FREX) that convened today in Skopje, took stock of the action’s achievements so far and approved the plan of action for 2024.  

With the participation of key stakeholders, including representatives of the Association of Journalists, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors, the Bar Association, the Media Regulator and authorities responsible for access to information and data protection, as well as the EU and Council of Europe representatives, the event highlighted a shared commitment to upholding European standards on freedom of expression as one of the core democratic values.

Noteworthy achievements from the first year of implementation of the joint EU and Council of Europe action PRO-FREX included a thorough analysis of domestic case-law on freedom of expression and protection of journalists against European standards, as well as training of new trainers on freedom of expression from among the legal professionals, preparation of Rulebook for accessibility of audiovisual media content for persons with disabilities and translation of important Council of Europe Recommendations on freedom of expression and protection and safety of journalists. These activities set the ground for the activities planned in 2024 which will focus on additional capacity-building of legal professionals, support of the Council of Europe Campaign “Journalists Matter” for the protection and safety of journalists and dissemination and implementation of the recently adopted Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2024)2 on countering the use of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs). Moving forward, the Steering Committee remains dedicated to advancing its objectives, with a focus on bringing home European standards on freedom of expression and support the EU accession process.

The action “Protecting Freedom of Expression and of the Media in North Macedonia is part of the joint European Union and the Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye 2023-2026” and aims to contribute to an improved environment for the exercise, in particular by journalists and media actors, of their rights of freedom of expression, in a more pluralistic and safer media environment, in line with the standards as set by Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Skopje, North Macedonia 16 April 2024
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"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression"

Art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights

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