JOURANLISM Richliev: The media are defenders of the citizens

Zoran Richliev, journalist and media analyst, in an interview for CIVIL Media speaks about freedom of expression, media freedom and activism.

CIVIL Media: What do you mean by freedom of expression, media freedom and activism?

Ricliev: They are basic human rights. Everyone has the right to express himself and everyone has the right to state their opinion. The media perhaps have a slightly more responsible role in this than the citizens do, and the role of the media in promoting that freedom is also very important. We are going through a difficult period, where the media have been under great pressure and the assessments on freedom of expression, in general, and on the media are very bad. Though I hope that period is behind us, and now we come to totally new challenges because the media are in a pretty devastated state, both from the ethical and professional perspective.

CIVIL Media: In what way do you support or can support freedom of expression, media freedom and activism?

Richliev: Certainly as a journalist, by exercising freedom and being on the side of the citizens. Sometimes we forget some basic things, such as why the media are here at all. The media are here to stand in defense of the citizens, of the interests of the citizens before the government. They are the defenders of the citizens.

CIVIL Media: Do you face any pressures and how do you deal with them?

Richliev: Certainly I have faced pressures. In my career and as a journalist, and as editor and chief editor, I have faced excessive pressures. Maybe not to that extent, but we truly had entered a period in which being an editor was like being between the hammer and the anvil. Because the pressures from the political and economic factors were huge, and on the other hand the support for the citizens from the media and journalists had fallen. I survived those difficult moments and hope that it will be different now.

CIVIL Media: What are your recommendations in the context of the fight for free media?

Richliev: The initial fuse always has to come from the citizens. The citizens need to become aware that the truth is theirs and that they should know the truth. The truth should be the bases, while the urge needs to come from the citizens. Because it is much easier for the media to work when the interest of the citizens is greater. That is why citizens need to have media literacy and learn to recognize the truth from a lie. We live in times when it is very difficult to recognize the truth from a lie. Perhaps because there are many more lies than truths. But the citizens need to learn, whereas the media need to be the most responsible, and work on their integrity and entity, so that the citizens can trust them.

Маја Ivanovska

Camera: Dehran Muratov

Editing: Еrmin Klimenta

Photo: Biljana Jordanovska

This project is financed by the European Union through the small grants program “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the Western Balkans”, implemented by the Croatian Journalists Association, as part of the regional project “Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety”, implemented through a partnership of six regional journalist associations – Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia, Association of Bosnia-Herzegovina Journalists, Croatian Journalists’ Association, Association of Journalists of Kosovo, Association of Journalists of Macedonia and the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro.

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