While anticipating for something positive to happen in or with this country, today I’m going to discuss one of the many pointless things (at least in my opinion) that have strangely become part of normal (or expected) behavior – namely party press conferences, that is daily press conferences, especially of the two main political parties SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE.
Namely, not a day goes by without witnessing press conferences from both parties, and it even becomes strange when there is no such thing. The question is only who will be the first to come out that day, and who will have their own reaction, response or completely independent statement. And over the years, it has become common practice for party spokespersons to make a series of accusations (one big or a few smaller ones), seasoned with certain qualifications at the expense of the other party. The accusations are necessarily in question (did “he or she”, did “this and that”? etc). And even more often, they target the other party, especially its president, and end up calling the character (or party) to respond to those questions or allegations. Journalists, who are certainly more skilled than me on this subject, have clarified to me that the questionable form of such press releases is to avoid a possible defamation lawsuit – if the accusation is properly presented, without question, but as an assertion, mentioned in the statement (especially if it is unsupported or inaccurate) can sue and receive a positive judgment, pecuniary and other compensation. Allegedly, if the allegation is in question, not as a claim – there is no basis for a lawsuit. If that is the case, and if I understand correctly it is a legal solution, this is the first nonsense that has led to such press conferences. And I think it should be changed, i.e. it should have equal responsibility for the publicly spoken word (especially for accusations) whether the form of it is a question or not. Otherwise, this kind of public address is a huge generator of fake news coming from the highest circles of politics.
The second nonsense with this way of conducting party press conferences – that is, what they have perverted over the years – is that hardly any of them actually have answers to any of the questions raised. Especially not for questions from the other party. On the contrary, no one is referring to what the other party has asked (or accused), but is immediately turning into a counter attack with its own set of questions. That is what makes these press conferences pointless, since their essence and role in a democratic system has completely changed. Other spokespersons (and party leaders and communication centers) – It’s not your job at press conferences to ask, but to answer questions!!! And not ask (and blame) the other party (or parties), but to answer the questions posed to YOUR party, no matter where the question came from. I haven’t seen any press responses from spokespersons on a press release in a while … but mostly I avoid them for exactly this reason, and for looking like I describe them – pointless.
While I can understand why parties hold such press conferences in this way (they say what they want, they don’t respond to questions from others, they retain their membership – to throw their supporters some ‘juicy bone’ in relation to the other party and to have “arguments” in neighborhood discussions with the camp or individuals from the other party), I don’t understand why journalists and the media (especially national television stations) tolerate it, or even promote it?!? Some of them pointed out to me that they usually do not send their own teams to these press conferences, and that there is probably no TV crew present there, but the parties themselves record their own presses and then send them to MIA (Macedonian News Agency) or directly to the television stations and portals. That explains why there are no questions from journalists at most party press conferences. But it does not explain, or at least I still do not understand, why mainstream television broadcasts such press conferences. I have tried to point to some of them, and again in this article I urge them – to practically boycott such press releases or at least the parts in which spokespersons ask questions to the other party (or questions in general), and to report only the answers to the actions, behaviors and statements of members of one’s own party, the views of the party itself on particular issues or the promotion of new ideas / policies / solutions (something that has long been absent in press conferences).
All in all, something must be done to change the style of party press conferences and return to their primary function of informing the party that holds them and demonstrating their responsibility, transparency and accountability. This should contribute to restoring the normality of the field, but I think it will also contribute to reducing polarization in society (which is mainly advocated by President Stevo Pendrovski), which is largely generated through current party press conferences.
I do not believe that the parties themselves will do that, so the media is the first to tackle this issue in their editorial policy and spare us of the daily ‘poisoning’ of public discourse with pointless inter-party allegations in formed in questions! So that parties learn to make such allegations in a straightforward form, not questions, or file criminal charges with the relevant prosecution offices – there is no need to bother us all with the media quarrels without any consequence, or some other effect!
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik