The Government is committed to creating space for the media to inform the citizens impartially and objectively. Our goal is MRT to be a completely impartial and independent media outlet, and the regulatory bodies to be transparent, professional and competent. It is especially important the regulatory bodies and the national broadcaster to not have members of senior party officials, former MPs, mayoral candidates and relatives of party officials, as it is now. Regulatory bodies and MRT should be left to media workers. Media should be left to media workers, said the Minister of Information Society and Administration Damjan Manchevski.
He addressed the attendees of the final panel of the Fifth South East Europe Media Conference, held the last two days in Struga, organized by the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, with the support of the OSCE field operations in Southeast Europe.
Manchevski referred to the amendments to the AAVMU Law, which he said gave the chance to politicians to withdraw their hands from the media and called on the opposition to help relieving the sphere from party influence.
“The law is currently in parliamentary procedure. I still sincerely want to believe that the colleagues from the opposition will see the need for this law to be brought into force as soon as possible. But unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case. It was exactly yesterday that we witnessed an amendment discussion of parliamentary Committee on Transport and Communications, where opposition MPs opposed the public announcing of candidates for members of the Council of AAVMUand the Program Council of MRTV. Opposing transparency and publicity in selecting independent regulatory bodies means being against democratic values and freedom of media. We will not allow that. We will never again allow politicians to haggle around behind closed doors, and citizens to find out about decisions once they are already made. I hope that the opposition will understand this too,” informed Minister Manchevski.
In his closing speech, the Minister Manchevski gave an overview of the digitalization and freedom of speech, as well as the global problem with “fake news”. As he put it, the international community should no longer be the corrector of things and the media activity should be left to the professionals.
“The media and media workers are those who need to be the engine of changes. We must not be led into a situation where, due to disrupted media freedoms, politicians, parties or the international community should intervene, as was the case in the past 2-3 years. Good governance and freedom of the media are codependent. Only when journalists get the opportunity to work freely, to observe, to ask questions and to report, without fear of pressures and threats, only then all citizens can rest assured that decision-makers will uphold the highest of standards,” the Minister of Information Society and Administration concluded.
The text is made within the framework of the project “Media Reform Observatory”, implemented by the Foundation for Internet and Society Metamorphosis, “Agora” Center for Promoting Civil Values and the Platform for Investigative Journalism and Analyzes – PINA, with the financial support of the “Foundation Open” Society – Macedonia “. The content of the text is the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be considered to reflect the views of the “Open Society Foundation – Macedonia”.