The New Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation Is Waiting In Parliament
In the draft text that is in the parliamentary procedure of first reading, there is an intervention in more than 1/3 of the existing articles in the current Law. An important novelty provided by the new legal text is the significant reduction of the maximum amounts that the court can award as compensation for non-pecuniary damage, caused by insult or defamation by a journalist in the journalistic profession, by an editor or the person replacing them or by a legal entity. Thus, for a journalist, this limit is 400 Euros, for the editor 2,000 Euros, and for the legal entity 5,000 Euros in denar counter value
Author: Aleksandar Georgiev – Kalica
As part of the reforms for harmonization and adjustment of the laws of the Republic of North Macedonia with the law of the European Union, is the preparation of a new Draft Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation.
This new law is in parliamentary procedure, proposed by the Government and aims to harmonize with international standards, and especially with the European Convention on Human Rights.
This harmonization is part of the chapter “3.23 Judiciary and Fundamental Rights”, which covers the areas of justice, anti-corruption policy and fundamental rights, i.e. European Union policies aimed at ensuring the quality of justice and access to justice for citizens.
Since the adoption of the current Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation in 2012, weaknesses have been located in its implementation, which created an urgent need to finally overcome those weaknesses and to adopt a new law that would meet international standards.
In the draft text that is in the parliamentary procedure of first reading, compared to the current Law, it is an intervention in more than 1/3 of the existing articles.
What is provided by the new Draft Law?
The novelties in the first chapter – where the general provisions of the law are stated, are contained in Article 5 where the professional rules of the journalistic profession are specified, which refer to the collection, analysis and publication of information determined by the professional organization of journalists, adding that they should be in accordance with the ethical principles of the International Federation of Journalists.
A significant novelty is contained in Article 6 of the Draft Law, especially in the part with the identification of the parties and the different court practice which resulted in the rejection of the lawsuits, and thus the creation of a different practice.
The proposed decision to amend Article 6 paragraph (3) of the Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation reads:
The author, the editor or the person who is their replacement and the legal entity as a publisher may be held liable for an insult committed through the media on which content is published in a way accessible to the public. If the media outlet does not have an editor or a replacement person, the individual or legal entity that owns the media outlet shall be held responsible.
The term “media outlet“
The term “media outlet” does not regulate what those media are. The European Convention and the experiences arising from the ECtHR practice indicate that the area for expression should be free, without strictly enumerating or determining all means or forms of public information. Rigorous regulation of media and other space is a danger and can lead to censorship. Hence, anyone who violates the standards needs to be held accountable, but freedom of expression must be completely taken care of. The new decision enables the plaintiff when filing the lawsuit to be free to decide against which of the persons referred to in paragraph (3) of this Article will file a lawsuit to determine liability and compensation for insult.
Article 10 makes a technical improvement of the text by introducing the term “media outlet”. The term “media outlet” includes various means, forms and ways of informing on which contents available to the public are published, but it also includes the term means for public information and other means that are regulated by the Law on Media.
In the same article, a new paragraph (5) is added which excludes the responsibility for defamation of the media that conveys the claim if it is a platform for media aggregation, except in the case when the platform was established for the purpose of abusing the freedom of information, contrary to the laws in the field of public information. The introduction of such an exception prevents the risk of deliberately creating a platform for aggregation in order to convey untrue and defamatory content.
Reduction of fines
A significant novelty provided by the new law is the significant reduction of the maximum amounts that the court may award as compensation for non-pecuniary damage caused by insult or defamation by a journalist in the journalistic profession, by an editor or the person replacing them or by a legal entity. Thus, for a journalist, this limit is 400 Euros, for the editor 2000 Euros, and for the legal entity 5000 Euros in denar counter value.
The adoption of this law will achieve harmonization with international standards, the European Convention, the practice of the ECtHR and Article 28 of Directive 2010/13 / EU CELEX no. 32010L0013.
The initiative for the enactment of a new law is noted in the latest EC North Macedonia 2021 Report, which emphasizes the reduction of maximum amounts for non-pecuniary damage caused by insult or defamation by a journalist.
The draft law is still in the parliamentary procedure of first reading with a European flag.
This article has been produced within the project Fact-Checking the Progress of North Macedonia towards the EU, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation. The article, originally published by Truthmeter,, is made possible by the support of the American non-profit foundation NED (National Endowment for Democracy). The content of this article is the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, NED or their partners.