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PRESS RELEASE

Skopje, 18 May 2022 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services condemns the summoning of the journalist of “I Want to Say” for an official police interview because of a published text, and wishes to point out that such actions jeopardize media freedom.

It is absolutely unacceptable to summon journalists for informative talks about published articles of public interest, as these can be interpreted as intimidation attempts, which in turn contributes to the emergence of self-censorship. Such cases have negative effect on the freedom of information.

The Agency wishes to remind that anyone who considers that a certain media outlet has damaged their reputation and honour by having published incomplete, unverified or inaccurate information, has the right to ask the media outlet to publish a refutation, a reply and correction, or to file a complaint with the self-regulatory bodies for the media.




PRESS RELEASE

Skopje, May 10, 2022 – Yesterday, during the course of the day, several media outlets published false information that the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services would cover 50 percent of the 2022 license fee on behalf of the regional and local television stations.

Towards the end of last year, the Agency decided to reduce the television and radio broadcasting license fees for 2022 by 50%, in accordance with its financial possibilities. Following a presentation by the “Medium Objective” Association of Regional and Local TV Stations, the Agency discussed the difficult financial situation of the regional and local broadcasters again, and supported their request that the Government provide additional financial assistance to cover the costs of the 2022 broadcasting license fee in the amount of 50%, if possible.

In order to ensure that the public is informed correctly, and also to avoid misleading the broadcasters, kindly publish this correction.




Celebrating World Press Freedom Day

Skopje, 3 May 2022 – “Journalism under Digital Siege” is the motto under which we celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, thus highlighting the impact of the digital era on the freedom of expression, journalists’ safety, access to information and privacy.

Today is an opportunity to reaffirm the basic principles of media freedom, to assess its degree to which it is respected and to pay tribute to the journalists who lost their lives in the performance of their professional duties.

Democratic societies cannot function without freedom of expression or independent and critical media, which is why all, none excluded, should make every effort to ensure a safe working environment for the journalists and access to information.

According to the latest report by Reporters Without Borders, we still have many challenges to face. The Agency – as it has done before – shall continue to be proactive in increasing the awareness of media’s role and the need to ensure their smooth functioning.




Conference Held on “Electoral Integrity In the New Information Environment”

 Skopje, 7 April 2022 – The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (AAAVMS) and USAID organized a conference titled “Electoral Integrity in the New Information Environment”, which was held in Skopje, on 5 and 6 April 2022. The Conference was dedicated to media and their regulation during electoral processes.

The Conference was aimed at encouraging discussion among civil society organizations, associations and institutions from the country and relevant stakeholders from the European countries on election-related issues, so that recommendations for improving the current situation could be offered based on their experiences.

At the beginning of the event, AAAVMS Director Zoran Trajchevski referred to the importance of media coverage during electoral processes and the Agency’s activities for monitoring broadcasters’ media coverage of the elections during such periods. He also emphasized the position in favour of abolishing the financing of political parties’ paid political advertising (PPA) from the State Budget funds, or, if this is not possible, the parties should receive funds for PPA according to an equality model.

The Member of AAAVMS’ Council, Zoran Fidanoski, reminded the present of some of the obligations broadcasters have during electoral periods and made a retrospective of several electoral cycles in terms of the results of the monitoring of media coverage of the elections and the role of the regulatory authority in these.

 The participants in the event also discussed the impact of digital disinformation on electoral integrity and the ways to deal with them. The other speakers shared experiences and good practices from the European countries in dealing with disinformation and fake news in the election campaigns, stressing the importance of regulation and self-regulation in the media during electoral processes, the editorial independence, and media reporting free from political and economic interests.

On the second day of the Conference, the AAAVMS and Italy’s Regulatory Authority for Communications (AGKOM) shared their experiences in terms of monitoring media content and paid political advertising aired by the broadcasters. The Head of the AAAVMS’ Programme Affairs Sector, Emilija Janevska, explained the process and activities related to the monitoring of paid political advertising aired by the broadcasters and the challenges the Agency had been facing during the electoral cycles. She also presented AAAVMS’ viewpoints regarding the provisions of the Electoral Code concerning paid political advertising. The State Commission for Preventing Corruption also shared its experiences in the area of ​​transparency of the political parties, election campaigns and political marketing’ funding, including online advertising.

 Some of the recommendations that emerged from the Conference refer to ensuring empowered institutions that would be conducting fair and efficient elections and to enhansing the institutions and political parties’ transparency so as to reduce the disinformation related to them. A need was stressed for cooperation among the regulatory bodies and for capacity- and skills-building among their employees, as well as for raising the citizens’ awareness of critical thinking. Editors and journalists should observe public officials and political parties and, should these fail to fulfill the promises they give, call them to responsibility. A need was perceived for thorough revision and amendment of the Electoral Code, especially in the area of ​​paid political advertising, so as to eliminate ambiguities and ensure a stable regulatory framework that would establish legal certainty, without amending the Code before the holding of elections. At the same time, the way in which internet portals function and the manner of advertising through these media should be legally regulated as well.




AAAVMS AND ARCOM HOLD BILATERAL MEETING

Skopje, 31 March 2022 – Representatives of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services held a working meeting today with Benoît Loutrel, Member of the College of the French Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority (ARCOM).

The purpose of the visit was to share experiences and viewpoints in the area of several segments, including the implementation of the revised Directive on Audiovisual Media Services, monitoring of media content during electoral processes, the ban on retransmitting channels that appear to be founded by the Russian Federation or private individuals, physical or legal persons originating from the Russian Federation. The participants in the meeting also discussed the regulation of the social networks.

At the end of the meeting, it was concluded that bilateral relations were of exceptional importance and that this practice should continue in the future.

 




Gender in the Sports TV Programmes in the Spotlight of the AAAVMS’ First Public Meeting in 2022

Skopje, 28 March 2022 – Today, the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services held its first public meeting for this year, at which Agency Director Zoran Trajchevski presented an overview of the activities the Agency had carried out in the past three months, in line with its Annual Work Programme.

Those attending had an opportunity to hear about the activities relating to the supervisions conducted over the broadcasters, operators of public electronic communication networks, print media publishers, the imposed public warning measures, the conducted surveys, and activities in the field of international cooperation.

Also presented at the meeting were the findings of the Analysis titled “Gender in the Media in 2021: Gender Issues and the Manner of Depicting Women and Men in the Sports Programmes of the National Terrestrial Television Channels,” which is the first ever to provide both a quantitative and a qualitative insight into the extent to which and the way in which national television channels reported on the female athletes and women’s sports, as opposed to male athletes and men’s sports.

The analysis, which the RESIS Institute had prepared for the Agency’s needs, showed that the coverage of sports and sports events and the broadcasting of sports competitions occupied a significant place in the overall programme scheme of the Public Broadcasting Service. The public broadcaster strives to pursue a well-thought-through and consistent editorial policy regarding sports, i.e. it provides a genre variety and obviously a great diversity in the sports it covers and to which it dedicates considerable airtime. Prevailing in the programmes of the three analyzed channels – MRT 1, MRT 2 and MRT 3 – are male team sports competitions. There is a prevailing presence of men among the reporters as opposed to the marginal participation of female reporters, as well as predominance of male sports workers, i.e. sports experts.

 The private television channels Alfa TV, Sitel TV, Kanal 5 TV, Telma TV and Alsat-M TV had dedicated significantly less time to sports than the Public Broadcasting Service. This was totally expected, given the fact that, due to the already purchased broadcasting rights, the private television stations did not air broadcasts of the Summer Olympic Games. Nevertheless, there were visible differences among the five private television stations in terms of the way they covered the sports events and the attention they paid to sports. Male sports domination was noted in their regular sports news programmes, considering both individual and team sports. Female sports experts were almost completely absent from the regular programmes of the private television channels, while the TV newsrooms sought the views and analyses of the sports events mostly from male sports workers.

The presentations are available at the following links:

Activities Conducted in Line with the AAAVMS’ Annual Work Programme

Zoran Trajchevski, PhD, AAAVMS Director

“Gender in the Media in 2021: Gender Issues and the Manner of Depicting Women and Men in the Sports Programmes of the National Terrestrial Television Channels” 

Igor Mitsevski, RESIS




PRESS RELEASE

Skopje, 16 February 2022 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services strongly condemns the verbal and physical attack on the news crew of “Polog” regional television station from Tetovo during the filming of inserts for a reportage on the “Naim Frasheri” primary school in the village of Gjurgjevishte, Gostivar region.

The safety of media workers must not be endangered at any time and maximum efforts should be invested in order to create conditions for the media’s professional performance of their work.

Timely and appropriate reaction on the part of the competent institutions is crucial in resolving the case and in preventing such and similar incidents from happening in the future.




​Celebrating World Radio Day

Skopje, 13 February 2022 – Today marks the 11th World Radio Day, under the UNESCO’s auspices, this year under the motto “Radio and Trust”.

This year’s subtopics are aimed at maintaining and raising the listeners’ trust, providing access to radio content for all listeners, including persons with sensory disabilities, as well as the challenges of ensuring economic sustainability.

Building trust among the audience requires investing in the quality of radio programme on a daily basis, raising professional journalistic standards, as well as use of new digital technologies that would provide better outreach to the listeners.

The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services congratulates the World Radio Day to all radio stations in the country and invites them to contribute to the celebration of this Day.




PRESS RELEASE

Skopje, 7 February 2022 – Concerning the Draft-Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation, which has entered its first phase of reading in the Parliament of RNM, the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services points out that calling to responsibility for an expressed “negative opinion”, in the way it has been defined, is contrary to all democratic practices and may result in media self-censorship.

The possibility of sanctioning due to an expressed negative opinion leaves room for abuse and punishment of media professionals. Journalists are the voice of the public and, in the course of their work, they often criticize certain policies or phenomena in society, thus encouraging public debate and contributing to greater responsibility, accountability and transparency on the part of government officials.

The right to freedom of expression is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The same is also guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. This right includes freedom to hold opinions and seek, receive and impart information and ideas, without the interference of the public  authorities.




AAAVMS and AMA Hold Bilateral Meeting

 Skopje, 2 February 2022 – Representatives of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services and the Media Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Albania (AMA) held a bilateral meeting today.

The two regulatory bodies discussed the activities concerning harmonization of the respective national legislations related to media with the European law, the open issues affecting this process and how to overcome the same. An emphasis was also placed on the obligations arising from the revised Directive on Audiovisual Media Services.

The participants in the meeting also shared information about the activities related to the monitoring of media coverage of elections in the two countries and the rules for Paid Political Advertising (PPA), gender representation in the media and the rules for the protection of juvenile audience.

At the end of the meeting, it was concluded that the cooperation should continue in the direction of strengthening mutual relations and exchanging experiences in the field of media regulation.