Фото: Фондација Метаморфозис

Metamorphosis Foundation organized a debate yesterday about the reforms in the media sector in North Macedonia, which took place after the presentation of the report “Halfway completed reforms – the political will is here one moment, and gone the next”, on the media reforms’ monitoring it performed.

At the debate, the reports’ findings were confirmed, where a joint conclusion was drawn that the reformatory process in the media sector will not be implemented without a political will for the implementation of this process. The debate was attended by representatives of national and local media (MRT, MIA, Meta, Portalbm Vistinomer, TV Vis…) representatives of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (AVMU), representatives of media associations, AJM, CMEM, MIM and civil organizations Metamorphosis and the Center for media development.

On a scale of 1 to 5, it was graded 3 but it can move to 2 if the stagnation in the reformatory process in this country’s media sector continues, said the participants in the debate.

Dragan Sekulovski, an executive director of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) spoke about the cases of physical and verbal attacks on journalists and media workers, who are happening more often on social networks. He informed about the information received from the Parliament of RNM about the latest changes in the Criminal Code, where the attack on media workers will be treated as an attack on an official, it will be put on the agenda for the MPs after the budget-related sessions.

Katarina Sinadinovska of the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia stressed that they are aware of the difficult financial situation that the media in this country is in, but that there has to be an order and limit for the sustainment of financial stability, in order not to usurp the journalists’ freedom of expression.

The conversation was joined by Teofil Blazevski of Truthmeter, who is also the author of the presented report. He said that it depends on political will whether the public money in the media will pose a problem that will increase. Regarding media reforms, Blazevski said that the safety of journalists is the only segment where they have noticed a certain improvement.

Otherwise, the participants in the debate have confirmed the findings in the Report and it was stressed that it is inadmissible for the government not to adhere to the legal obligation for financing the broadcasting sector with finances from 0,8 to 1% of the budget that was received in the previous fiscal year. This is because the beneficiaries are affected negatively especially the public broadcasting service MRT, which is a beneficiary of 75% of these assets.

Also, the participants agreed that it is inadmissible that even after two calls from the Parliament that the new representative of MRT’s Program Council and AVMU’s Council were still not elected. At the same time, it is demanded from the Parliament to expediently adopt the proposed changes in the Criminal Code which will treat the attacks on journalists as an attack on officials.

During yesterday’s debate, the idea was repeated for founding a Fund for the development of media with an inclusive process with media organizations and media representatives, including how to instigate the process of self-regulation and the meaning of the Registry of Professional Online Media.

The participants in the debate stressed the need of creating a national strategy for media and the media sector including the proposal for thorough changes in the Law on Audiovisual Media Services.

The Report, “The reforms at half the way – the political will is one moment present, and the next is gone “ is the result of the implemented research from the Metamorphosis Foundation. The debate and the preparation of the report were part of the activities of the “Fact-checking of the Republic of North Macedonia’s advancement toward the EU,” that is implemented by Metamorphosis during the years 2021 and 2022 with the support of the National Foundation of the US National Endowment for Democracy.