The Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) is deeply concerned with the observed violations of journalistic standards in the reporting on the grave tragedy in Tetovo and the fire break-out in the modular hospital.
The media are obliged, in particular with reference to information about loss of human lives, to adhere to Article 1 from the Code of Journalists which reads ‘The journalists are to present accurate, verified information and not to conceal any essential information or forge documents. Provided that the information may not be verified or it is a case of an assumption, i.e. speculation, it is to be stated and disclosed. The accuracy of the information is to be verified to the extent possible.’
As regards the explicit photographs and videos of the accident, we would like to remind you of Articles 7 and 8 from the Code that read: ‘The way of reporting in the case of accidents, natural disasters, wars, family tragedies, diseases, court procedures is to be freed from any sensationalism’. ‘The journalist is to respect the person’s privacy unless it is contradictory to the public interest. The journalist is obliged to have respect for the person’s distress and grievance.’
CMEM hereby appeals to the citizens to report to our office any infringement of journalistic standards observed in traditional or online media by electronic reporting to the following web link: https://complaints.semm.mk/?page_id=33.
Simultaneously, we appeal to the institutions for transparent, timely and accurate informing of the public for the purpose of reducing the risk of spreading speculation in such difficult moments.