The environment in which media work and the models of journalism they practice influences the extent to which they work in the public interest. How media in Macedonia operate and how much they guard the public interest was at the center of the debate organised today in Skopje. The event gathered together media professionals and civil society representatives to talk about the ways in which media work for or neglect the public interest in their work in Macedonia.
Our ambassador Charles Garrett spoke at the official opening of the debate and said:
Media and officials battle over transparency and accountability. Media need to demand more and governments need to provide more. Because, although the two sometimes seem to be in conflict, the truth is that they are both – the journalist and the government official – serving the people. So, in most cases, their interest should be shared not contested. The public needs to demand more scrutiny, and the media need to help the people get that scrutiny. This question has been central to the political crisis in Macedonia. Questions around scrutiny, transparency and trust are central to the causes of the crisis; and they will be central to any sustainable resolution too.
We recognise the importance of public scrutiny and the need to understand what is and what is not in the public interest. That’s why this project is getting British support. We may rightly hold officials, businesses, or media responsible. But the public have a responsibility too. They need to take an interest in what is being done in their name. They need to form independent opinions. And they need to make coherent and persistent demands of their leaders.
The project Voicing the Public Interest is implemented by the Institute for Communication Studies in the period of June 2015 to June 2016 with the support of the British Embassy in Skopje.
British Embassy Skopje runs a range of programme assistance in Macedonia providing support in range of reform areas with judiciary, human rights, democracy, media and civil society.
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