Meeting held on the Draft Methodology for Monitoring Media Coverage of Elections

Skopje, 23 August 2016 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services held a meeting, at which it presented the Draft Methodology for Monitoring Media Coverage of Elections by the Television and Radio Programming Services during the Forthcoming 2016 Early Elections.

The latest amendments to the Electoral Code, which the Parliament adopted in late July, obligated the Agency to amend, within 30 days from the amendments’ adoption, the “Methodology for Monitoring Media Coverage of Elections by the Television and Radio Programming Services during Electoral Processes”, i.e. the document that the Agency Council had adopted on 5 January this year. The Agency Director Zoran Trajcevski pointed out that, instead of making textual interventions in this document, the Agency had decided to develop a new methodology that would apply only to the pending elections to be held in late 2016. He added that the Agency had considered the experiences of the European countries and had chosen the French model of achieving political pluralism beyond electoral periods to adapt it to the Macedonian practice and regulations.

Further on during the meeting, Ms Emilija Petreska-Kamenjarova, Head of the Media Literacy Unit, explained in detail, as part of her presentation of the Draft-Methodology, the goals, scope and periods of monitoring the media coverage of the elections, as well as the specific features determined by the latest amendments to the Electoral Code. One of the specificities of this electoral process is that the provision on establishing balanced reporting starts to apply 100 days before the Election Day.

The broadcasters are to ensure balanced reporting on the parliamentary elections in line with the principle of proportionality, according to the number of verified lists of MP candidates. Based on the experience gained from monitoring the coverage of elections which were to be held in the first half of this year, the Agency made further refinement of the Methodology’s part that refers to reporting on the activities of the government representatives that may serve as electoral media presentation. Starting out from the methodologies for and experiences from the previous cycles of monitoring electoral processes, the sample that will be used to make assessments on the balance in reporting is set to ten days. There is also further refinement with regard to the commentary as a journalist genre, which should be clearly separated from the other journalist genres, such as the news, reports, interviews, reportages, etc.

After the end of the presentation, the attendees had an opportunity to present their proposals, remarks, opinions and positions regarding the text of the Draft Methodology, in an open debate.