About ICS

The Institute of Communication Studies is a leading research organization in the field of journalism and media studies, public relations and corporate communications. Our mission is to contribute towards strengthening of Macedonian democracy by working with media, civil society and public institutions, educating a critical public that will ask for greater transparency and accountability through engagement in the policy creation process.


ICS published the second report on the presence of harmful narratives in public political communication in North Macedonia

ICS published the second report on the presence of harmful narratives in public political communication in North Macedonia

The Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) has released the second report as part of the “Determining Political Harmful Narratives” (HARM-TIVE) research. This report is a sublimation of the data from the monitoring of the communication practices of political actors and their dissemination through media in November and December 2023, in which harmful narratives are identified.

Analysis of public communications from political parties during these months reveals a frequent reliance on unverified claims and baseless allegations of corruption, lack of transparency, incompetence, and misconduct. These are often propagated via party websites and the Facebook pages of political figures to discredit opponents. The discourse from leading political entities primarily employs language and phrases intended to disparage opponents or specific groups, fostering division. Notably, this period saw prevalent accusations aligning parties with either “pro-European” or “anti-European” stances, contributing to polarization.

The report found that in most instances, these harmful narratives originated from politicians rather than journalists. There was a minor uptick in the presence of harmful narratives in online media content for November and December. The trend of uncritically passing along unverified statements from political figures persists, often replicating party declarations and politicians’ speeches verbatim. Television coverage remained largely unchanged from the previous monitoring period in terms of content with harmful narratives, with major parties like SDSM, VMRO-DPMNE, and DUI being the most prominent actors included in prime-time broadcasts.

This practice of abandoning journalistic standards, along with biased and subjective reporting, not only undermines public dialogue and contaminates the media landscape but also infringes upon fundamental democratic values and the essence of open debate.

The research is conducted by ICS with researchers and experts from the field of communications and media. The focus is on the 10 political parties and their leaders whose parties have at least two MPs in the 2020-2024 parliamentary composition, as well as the Facebook communication of members of the Government. In media monitoring, 11 online media and 9 TV stations are monitored.

This research is carried out within the project “Fact-Based Journalism for Raising Awareness and Countering Disinformation in the Media Space in North Macedonia: Use Facts”, supported by the British Embassy in Skopje.