April 2005 –December 2005
IREX Europe is providing technical support and training and financial assistance through the German Government and IFA Media-Im-Pakt. The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) is the leading Journalists’ Association in the country, and has remained multi-ethnic and representative throughout the last five troubled years in Macedonia. The AJM has more than 650 members of different ethnicities and from various regions throughout Macedonia. IREX began its cooperation with AJM in 2001, when new, dynamic leaders were elected. The AJM quickly became an important partner of IREX’s and of other donors activity in Macedonia during the 2001 crisis. With funding and guidance from IREX, the AJM successfully introduced a new code of ethics, revitalized its Council of Honor (a media self-regulatory body) and conducted numerous trainings for journalists in late 2001. IREX also helped the AJM to set up six regional centres to serve as outlets to give a voice to regional (and ethnic minority) journalists.
Despite all these successes, the AJM is far from self-sustainability.
IREX Europe will assist the AJM in achieving self-sustainability, as well as in developing the managerial skills and self-sustainability of its 6 regional centers, and increasing the strength and relevance of its Council of Honour.
Council of Honour
The AJM contains within it a semi-autonomous "Council of Honour" that is made up of AJM members with a mandate to examine the state of the media in Macedonia, and the quality of reporting and journalism in general. The AJM then publishes comments and criticisms based largely on contraventions of the AJM’s code of ethics. Whilst the Council of Honour has performed well in the past it is not consistent enough, and it has not lived up to its potential. An important element of this program will be to try to strengthen the council through training and reform of its statutes.
The AJM has six regional centers outside of Skopje in Tetovo, Bitola, Strumica, Kumanovo, Ohrid, and Stip. These centers play an important role in providing access and relevance to regional journalists and non-majority populations. IREX Europe will provide training and assistance to help the centers increase their efficiency and build toward self-sustainability.
Other IREX Europe projects in Macedonia:
Macedonia Programmes Overview
Media Sustainability Index for Macedonia 2005
Macedonia - Support to Association of Private Electronic Media in Macedonia
Macedonia - Supporting Decentralization through Strengthening Local Broadcasters
Media Sustainability Index Europe and Eurasia: The Development of Sustainable Media in Europe and Eurasia Includes information on media sustainability in Macedonia.
AJM members protested under motto "We are here, beat us" reacting against attacks on journalists and freedom of speech. September 20, 2002.