Skopje, 9 September 2021 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services prepared the First Report on Monitoring the Media Coverage of the Local Elections in the period preceding the start of the election campaign (7-31 August 2021). The Report presents analyses of the 24-hour programmes aired by the first television me channel of the Public Broadcasting Service – MRT1 and by six commercial television stations at the state level that have an average weekly reach of above 10% – 24 Vesti TV, Alsat-M TV, Alfa TV, Kanal 5 TV, Sitel TV and Telma TV.
The monitoring results showed that, in this period, no violations had been found against the provisions of the Electoral Code.
In the daily news programmes, the media outlets most often covered current topics in news items (in a series) and in reports, which were clearly structured and from verifiable sources of information; however, at times, the TV journals of certain television stations also aired items realized through unclear, hybrid genre forms, as combinations of information and attempts to make a summary, anticipate and analyze certain more complex social phenomena. In some of these cases, there was no clear distinction between the party views and the professional editorial viewpoints.
As regards the current activities related to the election process, the media outlets mainly covered these through professionally structured informative genres, but still, did not leave out the daily news items reporting on the rivalry between the SDSM and the VMRO/DPMNE. At the same time, there was the noticeable practice of “quoting” statements made I on the social networks, which in themselves are often either irrelevant or unverifiable, be it in the informative or in the factual sense, especially due to the fact that they had been singled out from someone’s address using an Internet nickname/pseudonym.
MRT1 and 24 Vesti TV were the only ones to provide coverage in the sign language for the persons with hearing impairments and thus met the obligation under Article 75, Paragraph 1, of the Electoral Code.
Alfa TV, Sitel TV and Kanal 5 TV conducted several thematic interviews with the leaders/representatives of political parties, analysts of the election process, and some of the independent candidates for Skopje Mayor, regarding their ambitions related to the candidacy and their possible party affiliations. The interviews were mainly conducted in separate current-information units, with the exception of Sitel TV, which placed the interviews within the frameworks of their central TV journal. Hence, by comparison, the significant, even several-hour long, difference in the minutage dedicated to the local elections.
The individual reports on the national programme services that were monitored are included in the First Monitoring Report on the Media Coverage of the Local Elections, available at the following link.