Fake News in SDSM’s Refutation

Skopje, 27 July 2018 – In its refutation of the Agency’s reaction to the adopted amendments to the Electoral Code, the SDSM presented a number of untruths in an attempt to manipulate the public.

In reality, the facts are the following:

The Agency’s reaction did not refer to the Law on Financing the Political Parties, but to the Electoral Code. The working meetings with OSCE, in which the Agency took part, were not dedicated to the Law on Financing but to the Electoral Code.

The regulatory body was invited at a total of three meetings (May 10th and 30th, and June 14th) of the work group on the Electoral Code. The first meeting was of informative nature – to acquainting us with the rules according to which the group would work; at the second one we presented our standpoints and remarks related to the provisions concerning media coverage during elections, while the third one was used to sum up the remarks presented at all meetings of the work group regarding all the topics relating to the Electoral Code.

Not only did the Agency have remarks about the provisions of the Electoral Code – which is documented in the reports on these meetings – but, on 12 June, it even sent concrete proposals to amend the Electoral Code to the work group on election reforms.

The claim that the independent candidates had opportunities to be presented before as well, is untrue, which can be seen by simply checking Article 75-f, Paragraph 1, of the Electoral Code, before the latest amendments.

The Agency cannot take up anything against fake news or hate speech that appear on the internet portals, as these do not enter the scope of entities it is regulating. We have spoken out publicly about these issues, as well as about fake news and hate speech, on many occasions before.

On the other hand, the fact that the electronic portals will be registered with the SEC and will convey their pricelists for paid political advertising has nothing to do with either fake news or hate speech whatsoever. Incidentally, the portals used to have an obligation to adopt price lists and submit them to all competent institutions, and not only to SEC, even before (Article 75-f of the Electoral Code before the amendment).

As regards the provision that stipulates payment for paid political advertising from the Budget, by means of direct transfer to the media – is not this a new way of exerting political influence over the broadcasters through budget funds? And how will the ban under the Electoral Code on airing ads financed by public means be implemented if the entire political advertising will be paid from the Budget?