COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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FYR of Macedonia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.7 Mass media

The last statistical survey (2014) shows that there were 1 674 employees in the television industry (in 2011 there were 1 771 employees) of which 500 were in the Macedonian Television as a Public Broadcasting Enterprise. In radio stations there were 525 employees, of which 213 in the Macedonian Radio (as a Public Broadcasting Enterprise).

Since June 2013 the TV signal has been completely digitalised. 

There are no additional laws or regulations which encourage the production of indigenous programmes with cultural or artistic relevance.

In 2014 there were 20 daily newspapers (22 in 2013 and 27 in 2012) with a daily circulation of 17 727.

One of the most relevant issues in 2012 was media freedom, freedom of speech and decriminalisation of slander. According to the Ministry of Justice, 296 journalists were accused and prosecuted in the past three years for slandering government officials or other holders of public office. Most of them were cancelled but 9 journalists were convicted and had to pay fines of 5-32 000 EUR (in each case). At the same time, some of the so called pro-government media accused several journalists of giving negative information to "Freedom House" about the media situation in the country.

All this, together with suggestions from EU representatives, resulted in long negotiations between the former government and the Association of Journalists about the decriminalisation of slander. The final agreement was that the maximum penalty should be 27 000 EUR, introducing a kind of scaling of responsibility: 2 000 EUR for the journalist, 10 000 EUR for the editor in chief and 15 000 EUR for the media company. At the same time, these cases should not be treated under Criminal Law but under Civil Law. The Association of Journalists has stated that it was the best they could do at the time.

According to the Reporters without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index, in 2013 Macedonia was ranked in 116th place of the total of 176 countries, a drop of 22 positions compared to the previous year. According to Reporters without Borders, the reasons for the deterioration of media freedom in Macedonia lies in judicial harassment based on often inappropriate legislation, the lack of access to public data, physical and psychological violence against those who work in news and information, official and private advertising markets used as a tool, the grey economy's hold over vital parts of the media. No representative of the government commented on the findings presented in the Reporters without Borders' report.

On the 2018 World Press Freedom Index Macedonia is positioned on 109th place. It is a slight improvement and the Rapport explains that “The fall of the Gruevski “regime” has led to a slight reduction in government control of the media but it is still too soon to be sure of the government’s intention to engineer a lasting improvement in the situation” (https://rsf.org/en/republic-macedonia). There has been no significant change in the economic situation of the journalists, who are usually poorly paid and have none or little job security.

See also chapter 4.2.6.


Chapter published: 12-02-2019

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