1

Second Monitoring Report on the Local Elections’ Media Coverage Published

Skopje, 1 October 2021 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services prepared the Second Monitoring Report on the Media Coverage of Local Elections in the period before the start of the election campaign (from 1 to 26 September 2021). The Report analyzes the 24-hour programme of the MRT1 and of six commercial television stations at the state level: 24 Vesti TV, Alsat-M TV, Alfa TV, Kanal 5 TV, Sitel TV and Telma TV.

The monitoring results showed that, during this time, there had been no violations of the provisions of the Electoral Code. In the pre-election period, MRT1 did not air any debate face-offs between participants in the election process, which the Public Broadcasting Service is obliged to organize according to Article 76-a, Paragraph 11 of the Electoral Code. Only MRT1 and 24 Vesti TV fulfilled the obligation to ensure reporting in the sign language for the hearing impaired.

The fatal fire that broke out in the modular medical Covid center in Tetovo has pushed to the background all current, domestic political and social topics since that tragic 8th September day. More and more news editorial teams have decided to fill in the pre-election period with interviews, media outlines of the mayoral candidates, with an accent on the twelve party and independent options for Skopje Mayor.

A great portion of the media content was preoccupied with the decades-long inter-party rivalry and the journalistic coverage of this unconstructive politicization of all social spheres relativizes, i.e. makes ambiguous, even the news content and reports.

The prevailing impression received from monitoring media approach towards the party or independent election options is that the topics that are logically expected to be covered in the pre-election period – the urbanistic and social conditions, interventions and plans, the local authorities’ accountability and, above all, the citizen’s voice regarding the (poor) quality of the existing city policies – are losing their public, media primacy, and that even they are being covered through a strikingly polarized partisan view.

The individual reports on the national programme services that were being monitored are contained in the Second Monitoring Report on the Media Coverage of the Local Elections, available at the following link.




Press release

Skopje, 17 August 2021 – With reference to the public protest, organized by a group of citizens against the new measures for preventing the spread of the Coronavirus, at which the participants chanted insults and vulgar messages against the journalists, the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services wishes to underline that this attitude constitutes a direct attack on media freedom and the right of the public to be informed.

The Agency condemns all forms of denigrating and verbally insulting journalists and urges to respect the dignity of the journalistic profession, as well as media professionals’ personal dignity.

At the same time, the Agency wishes to point out that providing conditions for unhindered functioning of media workers is the sine qua non of freedom of information.




Agency to Start Monitoring of Media Coverage of the 2021 Local Elections

Skopje, 6 August 2021 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services shall be monitoring the broadcasters’ media coverage of the 2021 Local Elections, starting tomorrow.

In the period until the beginning of the election campaign, subject to monitoring shall be the first TV channel of the Public Broadcaster, MRT1, and six national commercial television stations that have an average weekly reach of above 10%: Sitel TV, Kanal 5 TV, Telma TV, Alsat M TV, Alfa TV and 24 News TV. All other programme services shall be monitored in case of complaints against them.

The Agency will be monitoring their entire programmes, focusing in particular on their central news editions and special information programmes involving representatives of the government (state/local) and the political parties, as well as other potential participants in the elections. Also monitored shall be all other programmes involving the potential participants in the elections, regardless of the reasons for their appearance.

Just as before, the Agency has placed a banner on its website containing all materials relevant to the election process – election-related laws and bylaws, complaint forms, publications, reports, etc.

Bearing in mind the fact that the announcement of the Local Elections, scheduled on 17 October 2021, has placed into force all the provisions of the Electoral Code entered into force, the Agency reminded all broadcasters about the provisions relevant to their reporting and operations in the period before the start of the election campaign.

The content of the letter is available at the link.




Public Hearing Opened on the Draft-Amendment to the Plan for Allocating and Distributing the Digital Terrestrial Multiplex Capacities to the Operators of PECNs

Skopje13 April 2021 – At its 10th session held on 12 April 2021, the Agency Council adopted a Draft-Amendment to the Plan for Allocating and Distributing Digital Terrestrial Multiplex Capacities to Operators of Public Electronic Communication Networks Obligated to Air Broadcasters’ Programme Services. A 30-day public hearing has been opened on the text of the Draft-Amendment to the Plan.

The Agency invites all interested and concerned parties to take part in the public hearing by submitting their opinions and proposals in writing, electronically, to the following e-mail addresses: contact@avmu.mk and arben.saiti@avmu.mk .

The public hearing will last until 13 May 2021.




Policy Adopted on Providing Access to Audiovisual Media Services for People with Sensory Disabilities

Skopje, 18 December 2020 – The Agency Council adopted, at its 45th session held on 17 December 2020, the Policy for Providing Access to Audiovisual Media Services for People with Sensory Disabilities. Prior to its adoption, a public debate had been opened on the Draft Policy, until 31 October 2020.

The document outlines and specifies the key courses of action for the regulatory body, while the concrete activities will depend on the current needs of the target group, as well as the capacities of the broadcasters and the providers of on-demand audiovisual media services, and will be planned annually.

The Policy for Providing Access to Audiovisual Media Services for People with Sensory Disabilities is available at the following link.




The Agency Holds Public Meeting on Activities Performed in Q3 2020

Skopje, 25 September 2020 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services held a public meeting, today, in the form of a video conference, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. At the meeting, Agency Director Zoran Trajchevski made a summary of the activities carried out in accordance with the Annual Work Programme in the past three months.

Those attending had an opportunity to hear about the activities related to the monitoring of the election process for the Early Parliamentary Elections, the supervisions conducted over the broadcasters, the operators of public electronic communications networks, the print media publishers and the providers of on-demand audiovisual media services, as well as the public warning measures imposed, the studies and analyses prepared, and the activities conducted in the field of international cooperation.

Presented at the meeting were the results of the study on “Determining the New Media Impact on the Formation of Public Opinion and the Work of Traditional Media,” prepared by the RESIS Institute for Social Development Research from Skopje for the needs of the Agency. The Study, among other things, provides data on the extent to which the audience uses traditional and online media, what they use it most often for, what the views of the audience are regarding traditional and online media, etc. The study is part of the activities envisaged by the action plan for implementing the Regulatory Strategy for the Development of Audio and Audiovisual Media Industry for the period 2019 – 2023.

Presented at the end of the meeting were the key findings of the Analysis of the Audio and Audiovisual Media Services Market for 2019, which the Agency conducted in order to obtain information about the situation in this industry, as well as the economic performances of the entities on the market. The analysis separately examines the data on the economic performance of the television and radio stations and, in accordance with the relevant geographical markets, separately presents the data on the operation of broadcasters that broadcast programme on the national, regional and local levels, respectively. The total revenues in the industry in 2019 amounted to Denar 2,432.95 million. Of these, 38% are revenues of the public broadcasting service, 56% – of the commercial television stations, and 6% – of the commercial radio stations. The total expenditures in the industry amounted to Denar 2,963.34 million, which is by 16.78% more than in the previous year.

The presentations are available at the following links:

Activities conducted in tune with the AAAVMS Annual Work Plan

Zoran Trajchevski, PhD, AAAVMS Director

Key Findings of the Analysis of the Market of Audio and Audiovisual Media Services in 2019

Sanja G. Zdravkovska, AAAVMS




TELMA TV AND ALSAT-M TV BREAK THE ELECTION SILENCE – AN APPEAL TO ALL BROADCASTERS TO OBSERVE THE ELECTION SILENCE

Skopje, 14 July 2020 – While monitoring the manner of reporting on the part of the radio and television stations during the election silence, the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services found that Telma TV and Alsat-M TV had violated the same by having published audiovisual materials involving a holder of public office who was also actively participating in the campaign of a participant in the election process.

According to the Electoral Code, during the election silence, the media must not publish any information, photographs, audio or audiovisual materials related to or involving participants in the elections; any forms of media coverage that open or covertly serves someone’s campaign and may influence the decision of the voters; any data that reveals the identity of political entities and/or individuals involved in incidents or irregularities on the Election Day, or any statements by candidates in the election process, representatives of political parties or holders of public offices.

Within the legal deadlines, the Agency will submit requests to the competent court to initiate misdemeanor proceedings against these two television outlets.

Having in mind the specific period in which the election process is currently unfolding, we call on all broadcasters to perform their reporting responsibly and professionally and to observe the rules that apply to the election silence.

 

 




AAAVMS Records Office To Be Open From 09:00 hrs To 14:00 hrs Starting 8 April

Skopje, 7 April 2020 – In accordance with the Government’s Decision to ban and introduce special regime on the population’s movement (curfew) on the entire territory of the State, the working hours of the Agency’s Records Office have changed and the Office will be open from 09:00 until 14:00 hrs, starting tomorrow.

Just as in the past period, all entities, legal and physical persons, may also submit their entire correspondence and documents, in a clear and legible scanned form, via the following e-mail address: contact@avmu.mk. The documentation will be considered duly submitted, and the sender will be notified accordingly.

This mode of operation of the Agency remains in force until the end of the restrictions prescribed by the Government.




POLITICIANS SHOULD NOT INSULT JOURNALISTS

Skopje, 28 March 2020 – The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services condemns the inappropriate and vulgar conduct of the President of the GROM political party against the journalist of 24 TV, Gorazd Chomovski.

The media are guardians of the public interest and creators of public awareness and, as such, should be freed from threats and pressures. They must be allowed to carry out their work smoothly. Everyone, politicians in particular, should be aware of the weight of the publicly uttered word and should show utmost respect for the journalistic profession and the freedom of information.

The Agency calls for a halt to all forms of humiliation and verbal insults against journalists and appeals to respect the dignity of the journalist profession and the personal dignity of media professionals.




COMPULSORY REGISTRATION FOR PPA WITH SEC WITHIN 3 DAYS, PRICELISTS TO BE PUBLISHED WITHIN 5 DAYS

Skopje, 17 February 2020 – Over the weekend, right before the decision to schedule elections, the Parliament adopted the Law Amending and Supplementing the Electoral Code.

According to the new provisions, all the media – the broadcasters, the print media and the electronic media (internet portals) – which intend to provide paid political advertising (PPA) during the early parliamentary elections due on 12 April 2020, are obliged to register with the State Election Commission (SEC) no later than 24:00 hrs on 19 February 2020. In order to register, they need to submit registration application, along with a current status statement issued by the Central Registry of the Republic of Macedonia not older than 30 days. The applications should be submitted to the following e-mail address: izbori@sec.mk.

The media outlets that will not register with the SEC will not have the right to use the allocated funds for PPA, provided from the State Budget.

The media outlets are also obligated, by 21 February 2020 at the latest, to adopt PPA price lists and to submit them to the State Election Commission, the State Audit Office and the State Commission for Preventing Corruption. In addition, the broadcasters should send their price lists to the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services as well.

The pricelists must not be changed until the end of the election process, and the prices must not exceed the average advertising prices calculated on the basis of the last five election cycles.

The average price and the lowest price for PPA for the broadcasters, print media and electronic media (internet portals) in the last five election cycles are set by the State Election Commission and will be published on its website.

The Agency will be publishing reminders about the obligations related to the different stages of the election process. More information related to the media coverage of the elections are available under the Elections 2020 banner.