“Media as Watchdogs of Public Interest” Workshop in Skopje

Dates: 30-31 March

Country: Macedonia, Skopje

MDI_EJN_MAMIL_Workshop_Skopje_March_2017Journalists and editors from 8 media outlets in Macedonia participated in the workshop organised as a part of a media literacy programme MAMIL run by the School of Journalism and Public Relations (SJPR) and the Media Diversity Institute (MDI).  The workshop “Media as Watchdogs of Public Interest” was conducted by the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) on 30-31 March 2017 in Skopje.

“In many cases, journalists and media in Macedonia cover topics that are interesting to the public, with sensationalistic headlines structured solely to attract a larger audience. During the two-day workshop participants were acquainted with the role of media as the watchdogs of public interest, and learnt how to better grapple with issues of public interest, and how to cover them in their news reporting,” said the trainer Tom Law from EJN.

MDI_EJN_MAMIL_Workshop_Skopje_March_2017_3The Guardian’s former Readers’ Editor Chris Elliot talked to the participants at the workshop in Skopje via Skype explaining the importance of internal governance and accountable journalism. There was a discussion on what ethical journalists can do when working in the media that do not create an atmosphere conducive to independent, impartial public interest journalism. In many cases the participants, journalists from the  Macedonian media, pointed out that they have to practice self-censorship due to the highly politicised nature of their newsrooms. This highlights the need for good governance and adoption of media self-regulation processes at both industry and that of individual news organisations.

The workshop in Skopje was held as part of the three years programme Media Literacy in the Age of News Overabundance: Macedonian Coalition of Media and Information Literacy (MAMIL), covered the basics of media ethics and accountability but also some current issues such is the role of media in fostering media literacy, raising awareness of fake news and fact checking.

MDI has partnered the School of Journalism and Public Relations (SJPR) in their efforts to establish a coalition of media and civil society organisations aiming to promote media and information literacy in Macedonia in order to empower citizens to become active participants in the public sphere and a policy-making process, and reinforce the watchdog role of the media in Macedonia.

One of the objectives of the MAMIL project is to create a coalition of media, CSOs, and citizens for promoting MIL, empower citizens and civil society with MIL skills and knowledge as a precondition for active citizenry and introduce public journalism by creating meaningful and diverse news content as imperative for achieving media pluralism, diversification of sources and human-oriented stories. Before implementing their own MIL initiatives CSO and media representatives are going through the series of training to improve their own knowledge about the subject.

Here is a Storify that brings together all of the resources used in the training and provides a summary of the subjects that were covered.