ICFJ Strongly Condemns Attacks Against Metamorphosis Foundation in North Macedonia

By: ICFJ | 03/08/2024

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) strongly condemns attacks against our partner, the Metamorphosis Foundation, an organization dedicated to strengthening the awareness and capacity of citizens and civil society in North Macedonia. Metamorphosis and its fact-checking service, Truthmeter, are the target of a widespread disinformation campaign endangering current and former employees and undermining the ability of a free press to operate in the country.

Slanderous, offensive content has been shared on a mass scale online, falsely accusing the organization of illegal activities and misrepresenting fact-checking as censorship. The social media posts, comments and other online content have been followed by calls to harm and kill Metamorphosis staff. This is a pattern that ICFJ has documented in its own research on online violence against journalists – a pattern designed to silence reporting.

“We stand with our partner, the Metamorphosis Foundation, and strongly condemn these unacceptable attacks,” ICFJ President Sharon Moshavi said. “They harm and endanger individuals as well as society as a whole, by inciting violence, undermining trust in journalistic institutions and spreading fear.”

ICFJ calls on all responsible institutions in North Macedonia, including the Ministry of Interior, public prosecutor and the courts, to act and enforce the laws against hate speech, which is recognized as a criminal offense in the country. It is imperative that institutions with a mandate to act do it effectively by identifying, investigating, and prosecuting online hate speech and thus contribute to an environment where the free exchange of ideas can happen without fear.

ICFJ works with the Metamorphosis Foundation to train young journalists in North Macedonia. The organization is a certified signatory of the code of principles adopted by the International Fact-Checking Network.

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia, the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia, and the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers have all publicly condemned the smear campaign and demanded institutional responses to protect the safety of Metamorphosis’ journalists and staff.

This is not the first time Metamorphosis has been targeted. Read more from our partner.

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