Statement of Commissioner Š.Füle on the decriminalisation of defamation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
"I welcome the removal of insult and defamation from the Criminal Code and the adoption of a Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation. The decriminalisation of defamation is a significant step in the context of freedom of expression and the media, which is a cornerstone of any democracy. This was a key target under the High Level Accession Dialogue between the European Commission and the Government. The delivery of this ambitious reform demonstrates the good level of cooperation that has been established. I particularly welcome the fact that these legislative changes have resulted from consultation between the government and the Association of Journalists, as well as expert advice sought from the Council of Europe. The Commission will monitor closely the implementation of the new provisions by the national courts. We encourage the national authorities to continue their dialogue with the journalists within the Working Group on Media, in order to address other issues relating to freedom of expression and the media."