Between personal gain and public interest: are the media also to blame for the crisis?

When the government began to implement campaigns and advertise them, most of the private media in Macedonia entered the race to grab a larger share of the pie. Experts say that not only advertisements but also tenders buy media support. This situation in the Macedonian media market has raised several questions and dilemmas: Have the media become a cover for the business? Can a medium as a private property take into account only their income, although performing a public activity? Are private media obliged to keep account of the public interest? By signing the Przino Agreement, which undertook reforms in the media, another key question has opened: are the media to blame for the political crisis by not having adhered to journalistic standards and ethics in their work?   BUSINESS AND MEDIA – WINNING COMBINATION   Overall, behind the...

KEY PLAYERS IN THE MEDIA BUSINESS: WHO OWNS THE MEDIA IN MACEDONIA?

The majority in the Macedonian Parliament, without much debate and deliberation, turned down the bill on reforms in the media just days before it was dissolved. The proposal, comprised under the advice of ex-mediator Peter Vanhoutte, was expected to be seriously addressed by MPs because of their leaders’ signature of the Przino Agreement. But with the rejection of this proposal another unfulfilled obligation remained ahead of the early parliamentary elections on 5th June. Media organizations as proponents are once again disappointed by the lack of political will to finally regulate the media sphere in Macedonia. It is necessary to reform the media sector in a period when the political crisis is culminating. This opens several questions: who owns the media in Macedonia and thus the largest share in shaping public opinion? Do private media take into account the public...

SCANDAL: Journalists – “a security threat” to SCPC

“You are a threat to the security of the institution and cannot enter it”. This unpleasant answer was given to the team of SCOOP-Macedonia on April 6, 2016 by a person who introduced himself as the Chief Security Officer at the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption (SCPC). With this, journalists were prevented from filing a request for free access to information under the Law on Free Access to Public Information. SCOOP’s ordeal in SCPC began on April 6, 2016 at around 11 am. We entered the building in Dame Gruev Street No. 1 where we were greeted by a security officer in civilian clothes. After seeing our ID card she wrote our names in the book and asked us what we were doing there. We explained that we wanted to file a request for free access to public...

Business and politics in the media: Are reforms possible?

DOCUMENTATION     When in the spring of 1996 the first issue of the independent daily “Dnevnik” was published, the then government was aware that the time was coming of the media that it would not be able to control. “Dnevnik” and then the private TV “A1” soon became influential media, taking the power to create public opinion of the then media that were state-owned – newspapers “Nova Makedonija”, “Vecer”, “Flaka” and the Macedonian Radio television (MRTV). Strengthening the position of private-independent media put into bankruptcy the media that had been established and controlled by the state for several decades. Therefore, the state decided to sell newspapers that were state-owned, while MRTV was transformed from state to public service. Without any fundamental reforms in the political system, little can be changed in the media. Mediator Vanhoutte’s proposals are sound...

DIGITALIZATION: FOREIGN CHANNELS MORE ATTRACTIVE, DOMESTIC CHANNELS FAIL SIMPLE FEATURES SUCH AS TELETEXT

Residents of Novo Selo, in Demir Hisar, do not have a major choice on their TV sets, and learn about what is happening beyond their place of residence solely on the three channels emitted by the public broadcasting service – MRTV, including the parliament channel. Although they have procured receivers to follow other channels with national concession, whose signals should reach their homes, they are still denied this service. However, they are not alone in this predicament. According to statements of residents in other rural areas, they as well are not satisfied with the offer that should have been achieved with digitalization, which had been announced as revolution of televised offers. Many and varied features were promised: subtitles in several languages, faster teletext, online payment, electronic programme guide, interactive television… While it was expected to contribute to improved media...

SCOOP research: State land divided to officials

Argument about a state land in Vevcani. Around 267 hectares under the Struga village of Vevcani have two tenants. The land is state owned and Ministry of Agriculture offers it to two owners. First under public call, issued in situations where state land is already planted and the farmer has not taken out a lease, and then it is given to public announcement. The company “Eco Project” applied, run by Maja Aluloska, Mitre Aluloski’s daughter from Vevcani. Hazelnuts were planted in 2009 and later drip irrigation was implemented. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, then headed by Ljupco Dimovski, current MP of the Socialist Party, approved Mitre Aluloski and his daughter to lease the land under the village of Vevcani. He sent a lease agreement, which the family Aluloski signed and sent it for signature to the Ministry...

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