The Founding Assembly of the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers in Macedonia (SSNM) was held on November 12th, 2010. After several unsuccessful attempts in the past 20 years, finally a union was created, uniting at the beginning around 100 journalists, cameramen and other colleagues from almost all print and electronic media in Macedonia.
SSNM is created in a difficult moment, when the media scene in Macedonia is in a very complicated situation, burdened by continuous pressures on the journalists coming from different sides, such as the media owners, the government, political parties and business/economy centers. They are using the journalists and the media to achieve their goals and to raise their powers.
In a situation of high unemployment rate in the country, the number of journalists on the labor market is much higher than what is needed. The media owners are using this situation to decrease the journalist’s labor price, to misuse the journalists and set unfair employment/working conditions. When journalists are not organized, they can not resist effectively to such attempts.
Many colleagues in the media are working illegally, without paid vacation days, overtime hours, sick leave and insurance…. simply, they can not rely to any of the basic rights guaranteed by the Labor Relations Law. Very often Macedonian journalists report about abuses of workers rights in the other areas of the society, while they can not achieve the same rights for themselves.
We believe that the inabilities of journalists to defend themselves and to resist to all kinds of pressures are one of the main reasons for the difficult situation that Macedonian journalism is facing nowadays. This situation affects the ability for practicing professional and objective reporting, that would serve to the needs of the public interest.
We believe that only strongly organized union of journalists and media professionals with protected basic workers rights can have a positive effect on the quality of journalism and the freedom of public word. There isn’t press freedom when there is – poverty, corruption and fear!
Our mission and goals, which are elaborated in our Statute and the Action plan, are to re-establish and defend the dignity of our work thorough a battle for achieving economic, social and employment rights, which are not respected nowadays.