Press Release

Skopje, 20 March 2019 – Some of the media conveyed an information today that the State Anti-Corruption Commission had opened a case regarding two instances of hiring employees on the part of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services during the time of an electoral process. For the purpose of informing the public in an objective and well-argued fashion, respecting the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations, the Agency wishes to inform the public, as follows:

In accordance with the Electoral Code, the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services is obligated to monitor electoral media coverage from the day of announcing the elections, until their conclusion. Considering the number of broadcasters, the Agency does not have even closely sufficient human resources to carry out its competences and obligations laid down in the Electoral Code, due to which, for years in a row, it has been hiring external associates for monitoring the programmes and for preparing measures against the detected violations. For instance, during the 2017 local elections, the Agency hired 24 persons, three of whom were jurists. The associates are always engaged through a temporary employment agency, based on the established needs and requirements of the separate departments within the Agency, the work of which is related to the electoral processes. These associates are hired on a fixed-term basis, for a limited duration, i.e. until the end of the Agency’s activities related to the elections.

As regards the “two instances of hiring employees on the part of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (AAAVMS) which took place during an electoral process,” we hereby confirm that two jurists were hired, based on a previously submitted request by the Agency’s Legal Affairs Department. At the same time, we wish to inform that, after the elections had been announced on 8 February, 7 associates have been hired to monitor the programmes, and 15 more associates will be hired additionally, after the start of the campaign on 1 April.

These hirings are in accord with the Electoral Code, which envisages that employment procedures may be initiated in case of urgent and exigent matters. This can be attested by the previous opinions issued by the State Commission for Preventing Corruption (SCPC) to the effect that there is no legal obstacle for the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services to hire external associates for monitoring and preparation of misdemeanor procedures during elections.

The Agency stands at the SCPS’s disposal and will submit the relevant documentation right after the same will be requested.