Skopje, 3 October 2018 – Based on the supervision of the media coverage during the Referendum, in the period from 21 until 27 September, the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services found seven broadcasters in violation of the Guidelines for Media Coverage during Referenda.
Contrary to Point 34 of the Guidelines, 1 TV aired paid public propaganda as part of the special information programme titled “Otvoreno Studio 1” (Open Studio 1). The same broadcaster violated the Guidelines on other grounds as well – e.g. Point 28 – as it aired paid public propaganda “IN FAVOUR” of the Referendum, commissioned by the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, much longer than the permitted 4 minutes and 30 seconds. The air time allocated for this client drastically exceeded the ratio of the duration of the media coverage – 59 % “For” and 41 % “Against” – determined by the Action Guidelines of the Parliament’s Coordinative Body regarding the running of the public propaganda and their amendments and supplements. Misdemeanour proceedings have been initiated against the broadcaster due to these violations.
Violation of Point 28 was detected with ALSAT-M, KANAL 5, Telma, SITEL, 21 TV and 24 VESTI TV, as well, but the duration of the paid public propaganda by one interested entity – the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia again – was within the frameworks of the time ratio defined by the Parliament’s Coordinative Body.
These violations, albeit not within its direct competence, yet within the scope of the regulator’s work, were discussed by the Agency Council. The Council took the stand that, in conditions of insufficient clearness and discordancy of the relevant regulations and the different directions that the media had received from the SEC, AAAVMS and the Parliament’s Coordinative Body, no misdemeanor procedures should be initiated. The broadcasters had abided by the Action Guidelines of the Parliament’s Coordinative Body concerning the running of public propaganda and their amendments and supplements, according to which the ratio of the duration of the media coverage was 59 % “For” and 41 % “Against”.
Considering the stance of the Council, the Agency Director decided not to initiate misdemeanour proceedings against ALSAT-M, KANAL 5, TELMA, SITEL, 21 TV or 24 VESTI TV.
The relevant written reports on the conducted monitoring may be downloaded from the following links: