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Activity Details (ID# 1984)

Title: Conference on freedom of expression, defamation, slander and insult 
Status: Completed 
Date: 27/11/2003 - 28/11/2003 
Countries: ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''
Programme: Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe 
Working Method: Organisation of meetings - Seminar 
Location: Not applicable, Others
CoE Contact: SONAGLIONI, Alessia email
Partners: Association of Journalists - International NGO 
Web Pages: 1 Agenda  
Last Modified: 12/12/2003 

Activity Synopsis


The main objective of the conference was to present the Council of Europe’s standards on freedom of expression and defamation and to encourage an open discussion on defamation and the responsibility of journalists in « the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ». The conference was aimed at journalists, members of the judiciary, members of Parliament and public prosecutors.

A more specific objective was to draft recommendations to be addressed in particular to the committee appointed by the Ministry of Justice in order to amend the criminal code.



The conference was well prepared by the Information Office of the Council of Europe, although invitations were sent very late. All participants received a booklet on Article 10 ECHR case law in Macedonian (Slav language), the text of the conclusions and recommendations adopted by Regional Conference on Defamation and Freedom of Expression held in Strasbourg on 17-18 October 2002 translated into Macedonian (Slav language) and the chapter concerning “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia “ of the 2003 report made by the Media Task Force of the Stability Pact on “Media in South Eastern Europe” translated into Macedonian (Slav language).

The absence of any representative from the judiciary and from the Parliament and the late arrival of a State Secretary from the Ministry of Justice did not allow the debate to be really constructive. The panel discussions were more formal presentations than actual discussions.

Due to the high presence of journalists, the media coverage was excellent (printed press, television and radio).

The target group was only partially reached, because of the absence of judges and members of Parliament.


Conclusions/Follow Up:

A working group composed of three journalists, the Deputy Public Prosecutor, a State Secretary and a Law Professor drafted a list of recommendations calling for the reform of the criminal code provisions concerning defamation, insult and slander in the sense of abolishing imprisonment as a sanction for defamation and insult. They also called for a quick adoption of legislation on access to information.



Journalists, the Chief Public Prosecutor, the Deputy Public Prosecutor, one State Secretary from the Ministry of Justice, one Criminal Law Professor and two representatives of international organisations 


Ms. Anine Kierulf, Attorney-at-Law in Oslo
Mr Pär-Arne Jigenius, former Press Ombudsman of Sweden

CoE Secretariat:

Alessia Sonaglioni, Media Division, DG II


Total No. Participants: 40 
Last Modified: 16/12/2003 
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