There is no fulfillment of the reform process in the media sector if there is no consistency in the political will to implement that process, was a joint conclusion from the debate held by the Metamorphosis Foundation, after the presentation of its report on monitoring of media reforms
The average score of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 can drop down to 2 if the stagnation in the reform process in the media sector continues. This is a paraphrase uttered by one of the participants in the debate in which all segments important for the work of the media in RNM were discussed. This debate was attended by representatives of national and regional media (MRT, MIA, TV VIS, Portalb, META.MK, Vistinomer…), representatives of the Media Agency AAAMS, the journalistic associations AJM, SSNM, CEMM and MIM, the civil society organizations Metamorphosis and CRM and others.
Metamorphosis findings confirmed
The online debate was held on the occasion of the presentation of the Metamorphosis report on the reforms in the media sector entitled: Halfway completed reforms – the political will is here one moment, and gone the next.
The participants in the debate confirmed the findings of the Report and discussed the most important segments: the safety of journalists, the use of public money in private media through two segments – paid political advertising and the non-fulfillment of the legal obligation to finance the broadcasting sector as a whole, which affected all users of that money MRT, AAAMS and MRD, insufficient support of the news agency MIA, self-regulation as a process, which together with the Register of Online Media is led by the Council for Media Ethics in Macedonia (and AJM), as well as the question whether the state needs a national strategy for the development of the media market or the Broadcasting Market Strategy that exists and is an obligation of the regulator AVMS is sufficient.
What needs to be done?
Several key points were highlighted by almost all participants in the debate:
- It is inadmissible for the state / government not to comply with the legal obligation to finance the broadcasting sector with finances from 0.8 to 1 percent of the budget realized in the previous budget year, because the users suffer, especially MRT, which is a user of 75 percent of those funds;
- It is inadmissible that even after two open competitions at the Assembly of RNM, no new representatives of the Program Council of MRT and the Council of AAAMS were elected;
- Urgent adoption by the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia of the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code which treat the attacks on journalists as an attack on ex-officio prosecutors, as well as the amendments to the Civil Code for insult and defamation which significantly reduce the sentences for journalists, editors and media owners.
- To develop the idea of a Media Development Fund in an inclusive process with journalists’ organizations and media representatives, and with some of those funds the socio-economic position of journalists employed in the media will have to be improved;
- To encourage the process of self-regulation and the importance of the Online Media Registry, primarily with the help of the institutions, but also of the business sector;
- Encourage the creation of a National Media Strategy and Media Market that should definitely be consolidated through a series of measures;
- In the debate there was also a proposal for fundamental changes to the Law on AAAMS;
The report and the debate were part of the activities of the project “Promoting the Accountability and Transparency of Public Reforms“, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation for Internet and Society from Skopje, with the support of the US National Endowment for Democracy. The project is being implemented during 2021 and 2022.
The whole debate can be accessed HERE.