NO to government campaigns in the media and abuse of the EU flag in the Parliament
“We, the professional journalist associations and civil society organizations from the media sector, categorically oppose the recent attempts to reintroduce state advertising in the media. Our position is based on expert assessments that suggest the proposed changes will harm media pluralism, media independence, and the freedom of journalists and media workers in Macedonia.
We believe this decision will further strengthen the corrupt and clientelist culture in the media system, thereby harming the public interest and good governance.
At the same time, we express concern about the way in which the parliamentary procedure was abused to adopt amendments to the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (LAWS) through a shortened procedure. We consider the use of the “European flag” instrument in this case impermissible, as the proposed changes have no connection with the necessary reforms that should lead to the harmonization of the country’s media laws with European Union regulations.
We believe that the decision to discuss these legal amendments in a shortened procedure is a non-standard approach aiming to satisfy the demands of a narrow group of interests while ignoring the remarks and requests of journalist professionals, international organizations, and the independent experts engaged by the EU in the process of media reforms.
We warn that the introduction of state advertising in private media in Macedonia means a return to the clientelist and corrupt practices of the past, with extremely harmful consequences for media independence and, more broadly, freedom of expression.
With the proposed system of distributing public funds, systemic corruption is introduced in the private media sector. Instead of quality news and new domestic content, citizens will receive advertisements from state institutions using their own money.
Once again, as has happened many times in the last 15 years, we emphasize that the only ineffective and unacceptable way to improve the situation in the media sphere has been chosen. We emphasize that in order to improve the situation in the media, a comprehensive debate is necessary to find a way to help the media solely by supporting program production and the socio-economic position of journalists and media workers.