First Monitoring Report on the Media Coverage of the 2018 Referendum

Skopje, 25 September 2018 – Today, the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services published its First Monitoring Report on the Media Coverage of the 2018 Referendum, which covers the period 10-18 September 2018. It presents the findings about the way the media covered the referendum-related topics in their daily information shows, the information programmes, the interviews and the debates.</span

The sample included two television and two radio channels of the Public Broadcasting Service (Makedonsko Radio 1, the Macedonian Radio Programme in the Albanian Language, MRT1 and MRT 2- Albanian Language Programme), all television stations that have national broadcasting licenses regardless of the transmission tool they use (the terrestrial Alsat –M, Alfa, Kanal 5, Sitel and Telma; the satellite 24 Vesti, Sonce and Nasha TVs, and the cable TVs 1TV, Kompani 21-M, Klan Makedonija and Shenja TV. As regards the national privately-owned radio stations, the sample covered Kanal 77, because the other two do not have information programmes. In this, the Agency analyzed the entire 24-hour programme, placing the accent on the central daily information show and the other programmes that treated the topic of the Referendum.

The monitoring results showed that, in conditions were there were no clear and equally active lines of agitation (“IN FAVOUR” as opposed to “AGAINST” and/or “BOYCOT”), it was difficult for the broadcasters to rely on their reporting on the developments so as provide their audiences with versatile viewpoints. Consequently, the dedication of some of them to the principle of treating diverse viewpoints equally may be noticed in their preparedness to offer in their newscasts stances of analysts, political experts, historians, and experts in other relevant areas, which would provide the citizens with a more comprehensive and fuller insight into the issues they need to bear in mind in order to make a well-informed decision regarding the Referendum.

On the other hand, other media compensated for the lack of versatile viewpoints in the newscasts by striving to provide collocutors with opposed views in their special information programmes.

A third group of media lacked versatility of standpoints in both their newscasts and the special information shows.

The first monitoring report on the media coverage of the 2018 Referendum is available at this link.