Skopje, 10 April 2019 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services has been unpleasantly surprised by yesterday’s decision of the Government to issue a negative opinion on the 2019-2023 Regulatory Strategy for the Development of Audio and Audiovisual Business Activity and seek its revision, on the grounds that it had allegedly not been harmonized “with the other strategic documents for the development of this activity.”
With its decision to issue an opinion and seek revision, the Government exceeded its competences and acted contrary to the recommendations contained in the reports of the European Commission on the RNM’s progress and to the Council of Europe’s recommendations to guarantee independence to the regulatory bodies in the media sphere. Namely, the Council of Europe’s key recommendation regarding regulatory bodies’ independence and functioning, underlines clearly and unambiguously that the public authorities must not influence media regulators’ independence. The basic goal of these recommendations is to prevent precisely this kind of intrusions on the part of the executive authorities into the regulators’ work.
The Regulatory Strategy was submitted to the Government, the Parliament and the Ministry of Information Society and Administration not for the purpose of being adopted on their part, but to inform them about the current state of affairs in the media sphere, as well as the activities that the Agency intends to take up in the following five years with the aim of improving certain aspects of the media sphere.
The strategy has not been harmonized, as the Government states, “with the other strategic documents for the development of this sphere”, simply because such documents do not exist. In order to prepare a sound and high-quality strategy, the Agency had included in its preparation the broader expert public, the journalist associations and the civil society organizations in the media sphere, through their participation in the many meetings and public debates it had organized.