Remarks on the Draft Law on Media have been submitted

Source/Author: AJM
Source/Photo: AJM

SKOPJE 12.09.2017 – The Association of Journalists of Macedonia, the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers and the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia yesterday submitted remarks to the Ministry of Information Society and Administration about the Draft Law on the Naming and Amending of the Law on Audio and Audiovisual media services.

The main remarks of the organizations are the percentage of the budget for financing of MRT, specifying the list of proposers of members in the Council of MRT and the Council of the Media Agency, as well as deleting two articles of the law that refer to the principles for the journalists’ reporting during election campaign.

The organizations remain on the view that one percent of the budget should be allocated to finance MRT, for which specific arguments are given, such as insufficient equipment of MRT, lack of correspondent network, low salaries of employees, and the need for employing new experienced and quality journalist and other creative staff. In addition, with the amendments to the law, the second channel of MRT is envisaged to become a separate channel with a 24-hour program in Albanian language, and the program of the other ethnic communities will be transferred to the third channel. All these obligations of MRT require a significant increase in the funds for its normal functioning as an independent and professional public service, which is supposed to be in the service of the citizens.

The three organizations think that in the list of proposers should be specified that the Association of Journalists of Macedonia proposes members in the Program Council of MRT and the Council of the Agency. This will ensure that organizations that represent the interests of journalists propose  competent, credible and independent members.

The remarks require additional reduction of the fee for a license for television or radio broadcasting. In addition, we insist that the Media Agency before initiating any misdemeanor procedure, it should publicly warn the media.

AJM, SSNM and CMEM also demand deleting of the Article 62-a and 62-b of the law, which refer to political pluralism in news and daily information programs during the election campaign. We believe that journalistic standards can not be an object of legal regulation, instead there should be self-regulation in the media. If the ethical journalistic standards are put into law, there is a great danger of them being misused to limit the freedom of speech and the media freedom.