Stemenkova: Through my transparent work, I fight against fake news and misinformation

This year, mayors had the opportunity to report on what they have done in their two-year mandate following the local elections in 2017.

The Mayor of the Municipality of Makedonska Kamenica, Sonja Stamenkova, in a conversation with CIVIL Media, spoke about the manner of implementing transparent and responsible policies in the municipality, how citizens are informed about the activities of the Municipality, and the relationship between the local and central government.

“What mostly stalls the development of the Municipality is the lack of strategic documents. We set the preparation of strategic documents as the first and foremost task. The preparation of two strategic documents is in progress, and we are continuing with the strategy on youth, tourism… You can always do more. No matter how much we consider that we have done everything we could have, there is always room for much more to be done. However, the most important thing is to satisfy the needs of the citizens, but also to set the correct diagnosis of the problem in order to more easily come to the solution”, stated Stamenkova, satisfied from what has been done during her two years as a mayor.

Stamenkova praised in regards to the transparency and responsibility of the policies that she implements as a mayor.

“At the start of my mandate, we encountered a municipality that had been for over 80 years in the 50th place in transparency and second last in the East Planning Region. This year, the results show a completely different picture. We were in second place, and now we are in the first place in the region in transparency, and in the 13 place at the state level. We will try to climb even higher at the state level, because we promised a transparent municipality, transparent work and the citizens deserve to know where their money is being spent. What particularly makes me happy is that we saw the shortcoming, engaged a person in charge of publishing the annual plans, procedures, public procurements, everything that makes the Municipality transparent. What we are also lacking in addition to strategic documents, are also ISO standards. We have become a member of the Standardisation Institute. We also plan to fully take advantage of the capacities of the Institute in order to bring these certificates in the municipality”, said Stamenkova.

Not even the Municipality of Makedonska Kamenica is immune to fake news and misinformation. Stamenkova pointed out that campaigns of women mayor candidates are specific, which led to a negative campaign against her with hate speech and humiliation of woman as a person.

“I always find the positive side of what is being written, draw the point and place it publicly. Yes, I do face fake news and criticism, but as a mayor and with my work through transparency I give the opportunity for everyone to assess whether that news is true or not. I avoid confrontations, because that gives material for people who are placing such fake news to further continue”, adds Stamenkova, who is otherwise a psychologist by vocation.

Stamenkova is always open to the citizens, considering that if people have set aside 5 to 10 minutes of their time, then that is the least that can be expected from her. She is satisfied with the relationship between the local and central government.

“With the entering of this position, I am more prepared to face criticism, than praises… My philosophy is an open approach towards people, conversations and telling the truth”, highlights Stamenkova.

Simona М. Zivkova
text editing: Biljana Jordanovska
Camera: Atanas Petrovski
Photography: Dehran Muratov

Translation: Natasa Cvetkovska


This post is also available in: Macedonian