FREEDOM Selmani: Freedom of expression is the essence of democracy

Naser Selmani, President of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia, in an interview for CIVIL Media, incorporated the role of freedom of expression, media freedom and activism in a comparative way, in the context of the changes in the political scene in Macedonia.

With Selmani we also spoke about the topic pressures and threats of the centers of power and the way to deal with that, personally, but also as part of the AJM, as well as about the recommendations on how to defend these benefits of a democratic society.

At first he stressed that freedom of expression and media freedom are the essence of a democratic society.

“In all countries with a dysfunctional democracy, it is no coincidence that lack of freedom of expression is the first indicator”, outlined Selmani, for whom it represents a creative force for a society to step forward, and for the government to act responsibly.

Regarding the question on how they support and promote freedom of expression, media freedom and activism, Selmani highlighted that, no matter how immodest it may sound, that the AJM is actually a promoter of media freedom and as an association always advocates for the common good.

Regarding the pressures of the political and business centers of power, Selmani recalled the period before the changes. For the previous government, he emphasized that it had exhausted all possible mechanisms for pressure and threats.

“If someone wants to use all the mechanisms of the state to pressure and threaten us, to sue us, by beating, by killing, there is nothing we can do, because we are very weak in relation to that entire state mechanism that can harm us if it wants to”, stated Selmani.

One of the recommendations is to create an environment in which freedom of expression will be something that is normal, without people having to fear that there will be any consequences. Also, Selmani stressed that the attacks on journalists need to be taken in a serious way and resolved in a timely manner.

Biljana Jordanovska

Camera: Dehran Muratov

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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