The Association of Journalists of Macedonia has responded to advertisements in private media outlets regarding the work of the Government in the last two years, commissioned and paid for with money from political parties.

“In the last few days, in the media we have seen videos promoting Government projects, and these advertisements are paid from the SDSM party account. According to legal regulations, political parties are allowed to promote their campaigns in private media outlets, but only during a pre-election political campaign. Although there is no explicit ban on advertising beyond this period, this negative practice can influence editorial policy and the manner of reporting in parts of the media”, says the AJM.

They remind that “in conditions when political parties acquire their funding from the state budget, they should be even more responsible when spending those funds in the private media.”

“Additionally problematic is the goal of the political parties that are part of the government, who spend public funds that promote certain government policies and projects. It is a risky step that can have negative consequences on both the fragile freedom of the media and the freedom of expression in the country, which could mean a decline in the country’s ranking among international indexes for freedom of the media”, adds ZNM.