The Commission for political systems and relations between Parliament communities today launched a public debate on “Analysis of respecting the constitutional right of presumption of innocence, the findings of cases of abuses in custody, violation of freedom of expression and media freedom, and freedom of expressing a public protest in Republic of Macedonia.
At the invitation of the Committee, the discussion included the President of Civil, Xhabir Deralla , who presented the views of the organization in terms of the presented topic. In addition, Deralla’s addressing has been published.
Long-term problems, which have corrupted the system, have essentially ruined the quality, legitimacy and effectiveness of institutions in Republic of Macedonia. These are continued policies and practices that are deeply rooted in the behaviour of institutions and centres of power, which do not allow citizens to have anything close to normal life in a democratic society. The consequences of this are continuous and systematic violations of human rights and freedoms, the substitution of the rule of law in ruling party and the erosion of democracy. In terms of overall politicisation of institutions and society, where political parties are representing the interests and implement measures solely to protect the limited scope of powers players, the development of a good society is practically impossible.
Independent judges are continuously and systematically pressured or removed and replaced with obedient politicised circle of staff. Measures and processes that promote the field of justice are superficial and simply a facade. The consequence of this is conducting a selective justice and using the judiciary as a tool to intimidate people and fight with opponents. Strong controls over the country’s security structures affect the general safety of the country and cause distrust in the institutions. This is supplemented with highly suspicious nature of electoral processes, which do not allow voters to freely express their will.
Intimidation, pressures and corruption of the media, reporters and editors, to the extend of their judicial and public prosecution and stigmatisation has created a disastrous impact on the freedom of expression and media.
The total occupation and party branding of public life and public space further affect creating an atmosphere of fear and division among the people.
These and many other unspecified processes, policies and practices have deeply shaken the rule of law in the country and contributed to a number of fundamental rights and freedoms to become unknown to citizens, something that in everyday life people are mentioning as a bitter joke or a utopia that was never destined for the people. This has led to apathy and passivity, widespread fear and obedient behaviour.
Recently, Civil issued a report on the situation of human rights and freedoms, where fear that ruled among the people was one of the indicators that the situation is too far below the level of tolerance. The report speaks of mass discrimination on different grounds, specifically on the basis of political affiliation as the most worrying and dominant discrimination.
Reports and analysis of relevant institutions and organizations here and worldwide, continually suggest major problems in the area of rule of law and the catastrophic situation in the field of freedom of expression and media.
This system has a comprehensive approach to structures and individuals who think and act critically in society. The right to presumption of innocence is grossly violated in many different ways. Spectacular arrests followed by immediate statements by officials and functionaries, indicates that is obvious that the judgment of those people is already written and the detainees cannot even dream of a fair and impartial trial. Determination and endless extension of detention has become strikingly common practice and is another element that speaks of the violation of this right.
Custody has turned into another cruel instrument for dealing with opponents and also a fierce warning to everyone else. In this practise, especially when joined with aggressive methods of public stigmatisation and condemnation, it practically suspends the right of the citizen to prove their innocence. These situations have placed Macedonia among the countries that have political prisoners, which among them are two journalists who dared to think and write differently.
In a spectacular police operation three years ago an independent national television station and three daily newspapers were closed. However this was not the end but the beginning of the steep decline in media freedom in Macedonia. Almost all other media are somehow closed as a result of government behaviour, parallel with blackmail and pressure on journalists performed by a certain corruption by government media campaigns whose character and content is a particularly sad story.
The Government has politicised practically all institutions, including the highest regulatory body, the Broadcasting Council where direct party intrusion was performed two years ago. The few remaining media that can be called independent and professional are under constant pressure, public, political and financial, if we take into consideration that commercial advertiser become
discouraged to advertise in these particular media.
This brief overview has only touched upon the surface of some serious problems in these areas. These conditions will not bring anything positive to the citizens of this country, including the makers of Macedonia as it is today.
The deepening and extension of these issues, politics and practises will push Republic of Macedonia, in a place where hopefully nobody wishes to see their country go becoming isolated, undemocratic and underdeveloped and with serious security risks.