A series of ten documentaries entitled “Do We Resemble the EU” is taking a closer look at what living in the EU is like. And even more importantly, at how the EU countries have overcome or are dealing with some of the challenges the citizens of North Macedonia are faced with in various areas of life.
This TV programme prepared by NGO Konfidens from Skopje and its production Balkon3, with the help of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), attempts to detect those pieces of the puzzle that the country is missing in order to narrow the gap with the EU when it comes to the respect of human rights.
The production team tried to do that through interviews with relevant interlocutors in North Macedonia and in various EU Member States. And it came to the conclusion: sometimes it takes a few steps; other times it requires serious and lengthy reforms. Along with change in mentality and established practices.
The project manager, Katerina Dimovska, says that the documentaries have been developed together with civil society organisations, institutions, journalists and other stakeholders.
“We compared the situation in North Macedonia with the best practices in EU Member States and discovered what institutions need to do in order to achieve EU standards. Each documentary covers a different topic and draws a parallel with an EU Member State. Filming our documentaries in times of pandemic was not an easy task – borders were closed and people were under pressure to avoid contacts. Still, we managed to make a dozen of interviews with experts, representatives of institutions and human rights defenders”, says Dimovska.
Shefkije Alasani Dika, a journalist who was part of the team, describes this project as a wonderful experience, in spite of the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
"In only few months I interviewed around 100 people with different professional backgrounds and had a closer look at the issues they were dealing with. In this way I learnt a lot more about the problems that our society is facing. There was one interview that helped me not only to learn many new things, but also to boost my motivation. Professor Carri Ginter from Estonia gave us a very clear message about what we should learn from his country: nothing good happens by miracle but by working hard", says Alasani Dika.
But the project goes one step beyond showcasing some of the best EU practices.
“The project team is also working to further empower human rights defenders on local level. We are planning to organise training courses for 45 representatives from local NGOs and media outlets on a smart use of smart technologies in bringing up human rights issues. In this way we will ensure that on local level, human rights defenders will know how to address problems and where to seek answers and responsibility”, says Nikola Ilievski, president of Konfidens.
The project team believes that becoming an EU member is much more than becoming part of a single market. It means becoming part of a single area where human rights are respected and actively supported - through a combination of domestic and common EU policies.
Watch the documentaries on Alsat-M TV every Tuesday and Friday, starting on 1 June.