Skopje, 18 June 2020 – Regarding today’s Facebook status of the “Besa” Movement announcing that criminal charges have been filed against the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services and the President of the Agency Council for “exceeding powers and abuse of office, in an intention to harm the BESA Movement,”, we would like to inform the public, and bring to Besa’s attention, the following:
The Electoral Code stipulates precisely that only the participants in the election campaign have a right to campaign, and these include lists of MP candidates verified by the State Election Commission. The broadcasters, print media and electronic media (internet portals) provide time for paid political advertising only for these participants.
The State Election Commission has verified the list of candidates for the elections due on 15 July 2020, according to which the “Besa” Movement is part of the “Mozeme (We Can)” Coalition. Therefore, given that this party does not run on its own, it may receive time for paid political advertising only and exclusively within the minutes assigned to the said Coalition.
Furthermore, public hearing was opened for the draft version of the Guidelines for Paid Political Advertising Limits on 3 March 2020. Until the Guidelines’ adoption on 15 June 2020, “Besa” did not submit a single remark. The Guidelines were adopted unanimously by all members of the Agency’s Council.
The announcement about submitted criminal charges cannot be understood in any other way but as an attempt to exert pressure on the Agency, especially before tomorrow’s session when new guidelines for paid political advertising are to be adopted, based on the latest Government Decree regarding the election process.
This is not the first attempt at exerting pressure, especially in certain specific periods such as elections. As before, the Agency will continue to act professionally and within the law, to make sure that all participants in the election process are provided equal access to the forms of media presentation, and will not meet individual party interests.