Today’s edition of CIVIL’s “Election Report” (7 October 2021) reports on a case of abuse of official position, abuse of children, black campaign, hate speech on gender basis and several recommendations of CIVIL about the need of media space for all equally. At the same time, CIVIL concludes strong domination of men in this election process as well.
ANUSE OF OFFICIAL POSITION
CIVIL’s Monitoring team noticed Deputy Ombudsman Sonja Trifunovska at SDSM’s rally in Tetovo on October 3. She also shared on her Facebook profile several photos with party symbols.
The legal experts within CIVIL’s Monitoring Team presented the following view:
“Although in the Law on the Ombudsman attendance at political rallies is not strictly prohibited, still, such public support is not ethical and violates the non-partisan character and impartiality that are characteristic for the office of the Ombudsman.
If, however, she is a member of a political party, then it is in direct contradiction to the mentioned law”.
According to CIVIL, this is abuse of official position, regardless of whether Trifunovska is a member of a political party or not.
ABUSE OF CHILDREN
Political parties continue with political abuse of children and do not remove videos from the internet in which children are used in a political context.
Children are put in the function of these events also at gatherings and meetings with citizens.
With such practice in the public discourse, VMRO-DPMNE particularly “stands out” and leads, but CIVIL notes abuse by other parties, such as DUI, the Alliance for Albanians and SDSM. Such cases are not noticed with the independent candidates.
Children must not be used in a political and election context. It is contrary to Article 12 paragraph 4 of the Law on Protection of Children, which states:
“Abuse of children for political and religious organizing and action is prohibited”.
The legal experts within CIVIL’s Monitoring Team comment this frequent occurrence in the election campaigns with the following words:
“This paragraph in the Law on Protection of Children means general prohibition on the use of children in any form of political action, including also a political election campaign”.
CIVIL’s monitoring notes that the black campaign conducted by the opposition against the leader of SDSM continues at an unabated pace and with extremely gross abuse of the tragedy with the fire in Tetovo.
Black campaign – abuse of the Tetovo tragedy for election purposes
For a whole month now, this tragedy has been abused for political and election purposes. This is unacceptable behaviour, especially if we know that all political parties have committed to the Code for Fair and Democratic Elections.
Hate speech by a local official of VMRO-DPMNE (Kristijan Jandrioski) Oct.6, 2021
According to the reports of CIVIL’s long-term observers, Radmila Sekerinska was also a target of hate speech yesterday. The hate speech against Sekerinska, in addition to containing extremely vulgar expressions, insults and threats, also constitutes hate speech on gender basis.
Hate speech against Sekerinska Hate speech against SekerinskaHate speech against Sekerinska
The manipulative content and hate speech are archived by CIVIL’s Monitoring Team. They are numerous, and in the text of today’s report we publish only few of the many such content.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONTENT AND COMMENTS
We remind, anyone who creates and administers a website or Facebook profile or page or any form of public communication, has the obligation to moderate the content of the communication, or comments.
What “third persons” comment is the responsibility also of those publishing the content, that is, creating space for public communication. For the “third persons” it is well-known that it is a matter of organized structures. In fact, certain media create manipulative content and disinformation, with an obvious goal to incite hatred, and even violence.
This is unacceptable both for the law and professional and ethical standards, and can have far-reaching consequences to the democratic processes in the country.
A BLACK CAMPAIGN IS ALSO CONDUCTED AGIANST CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS
The black campaign for discrediting civil society organizations continues. With the black campaign against entities that are not participants in the election race, an attempt is made to reduce trust in civil society and to impose the party truth in the public sphere.
CIVIL calls on the media to help in the fight against the black campaign and spreading of disinformation and hate speech in the public and to give, as much as possible, spaceto civil society organizations for their messages, reports, analyses and activities as well.
MEDIA REPRESENTATION AND GENDER EQUALITY
CIVIL also notes the case with the candidate from DOM/LDP, Teodora Dimitrovska, for whom there was no chair in the studio of TV Alsat-M at the debate between the candidates for mayor of Kumanovo.
In regards to this case, CIVIL appeals to the media to try to create sufficient conditions for all candidates to receive media space for political representation and confrontation with their opponents.
Having in consideration that gender representation of women in these elections is minimal and that we can barely speak of equality, the media can help, but this is the responsibility, primarily, of the political structures in the country.
Unfortunately, with the exception of just part of the political parties, our society notes strong domination of men. My friends from CIVIL FEM would say that this is extremely undeserved.
in cooperation with CIVIL’s Monitoring Team
camera: Atanas Petrovski
Translation: N. Cvetkovska
This post is also available in: Macedonian