The Agency Reminds: There Are Rules for Level Playing Field and Inciting Speech

Skopje, 5 December 2016 – Several political entities participating in the electoral process have informed the Agency that certain media have not been reporting on their activities as part of the election campaign.

We wish to remind that all broadcasters that have decided to cover the elections, according to the Electoral Code, are obligated to do this in a fair, balanced and unbiased manner, throughout their entire programmes. Regardless of the language in which they broadcast their programming services, they need to provide the participants in the campaign level playing field for access to all forms of electoral presentation in the media – in their news, information programmes, free political presentation and paid political advertising.

They should ensure balanced coverage of the electoral process, in accordance with the principle of proportionality based on the number of certified lists of MP candidates. This principle applies to all forms of electoral media presentation, except for paid political advertising.

Bearing in mind the fact that the rhetoric in the speeches of the participants in the electoral process has become fiercer with the start of the election campaign, the Agency appeals to the media to be cautious when broadcasting statements that contain inciting speech or even elements of hate speech. Such statements should be contextualized appropriately, and the media should dissociate themselves from the same.