Skopje, 21 December 2020, – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services prepared a Monitoring Report on the Media Coverage of the 2020 Early Mayoral Elections in the Municipalities of Plasnica and Shtip.
Subject to analysis was the total programme aired by the media outlets broadcasting programme on the territories of the two municipalities, focusing on their central news editions, i.e. the regional television stations of M Net-HD TV, Iris TV and Star TV from Shtip, the local Uskana Media TV and Gurra TV from Kicevo. as well as the First Programme Service of the Macedonian Television – MRT1, which the Public Broadcaster chose to cover these elections. The Public Broadcaster’s Parliamentary Channel was monitored as well, in terms of verifying its observance of the obligation to broadcast free political representation.
What was characteristic for the reporting of all media outlets was that they all lacked information about the course of the mayoral elections in Plasnica, but this was due to the candidates’ choice and not the media outlets’ decision.
Pursuant to Article 75-a, Paragraph 1, Point C, of the Electoral Code, the broadcasters were supposed to achieve balanced reporting on the mayoral elections in Shtip in their news by adhering to the principle of equal distribution of airtime, also considering the intensity of the campaign of each of the candidates. The comparison of the distribution of reporting time by all television stations the news editions of which had been analyzed showed that they had dedicated most of their airtime to the SDSM candidate for Shtip Mayor. The candidate of TMRO was less represented, whereas remaining three candidates got the least airtime.
In general, the television stations analyzed achieved balanced reporting, with the exception of Iris TV, where the SDSM candidate was predominantly represented, occupying with more than half of the total reporting time dedicated to the elections.
As regards the special news programmes, the national media outlets had them to a small extent. Free political representations were broadcast by the MRT1 and the Parliamentary Channel, in accordance with their obligations under the Electoral Code.
The Report can be downloaded from the following link.