One way to increase media literacy and develop immunity for recognizing media content created according to professional journalistic standards is to search for the imprint on online portals. One of the ways to check if an online medium is dubious or not is precisely the publication of the imprint.

What is an imprint? It refers to a group of data providing information about the name and address of the headquarters and editorial board of the media publisher, the name of the media publisher’s authorized person, and the name and surname of the editor-in-chief, or editors, in accordance with the internal organization of the editorial board, and the title. All of this is specified in Article 14 of the Law on Media of the Republic of North Macedonia. Although the emphasis in the obligation to specify the imprint in this article of Macedonian legislation is placed on print media and broadcasters, with the definition in the same law of what media is, with the phrase "means of providing public information, i.e. any type of communication, such as: newspapers, magazines, radio and television programmes, teletext, and OTHER FORMS OF DAILY AND PERIODICAL PUBLICATION of edited programme content in a written form," the legal basis for publishing the imprint is provided to apply to online media as well.

In addition to being a legal obligation in our country, publishing the imprint is one of the main criteria for membership in the Register of Professional Online Media PRO MEDIA. This register was established under the auspices of the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) and the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), with support from the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia.

One of the membership rules in PRO MEDIA for online media is to have a credible imprint, including the name and surname of the editor-in-chief, the composition of the editorial board, the address, and other necessary contact information on the web-page, accessible to any reader at any time.

The practice of publishing the imprint has been adopted in our country from the media that exist in developed Western democracies. In these democracies, it is unthinkable for a newsroom involved in shaping public opinion not to provide basic information about its structure—editorial staff, ownership, and contact details with the public.

As an example, we cite the case of the American newspaper The Washington Post, which has published the entire editorial staff with the name and surname of responsible professionals and their email addresses. This allows individuals from the public to contact them directly. The same details are also published for the management team of this American media outlet.

Another significant media outlet on the international stage is Politico, which publishes its ownership structure, editorial, and managerial team in the “About Us” section.

This essentially means that the rule of publishing basic information about the media outlet—those behind the content (texts, photos, videos)—represents a standard for every professional media outlet. Every reader should be able to easily verify the information on the web-page, including the name of the editor-in-chief, the composition of the editorial board, the address, and other necessary contact information. This information should be readily available to any reader at any time. The same applies to broadcasts on radio and television stations, as well as in every printed issue of print media. The imprint is mandatory for all of them.

Therefore, whenever you have doubts about the content published in a particular media outlet, in addition to checking the author of the text, photo, or video within the media outlet itself, and examining the content to establish the sources of information on a specific topic, a third important step for a quick credibility check of the media outlet is reading its imprint.