MDC has made contributions to the process of resolution of some of the burning issues that are in the focus of the ongoing process of reforms of media legislation in Macedonia. This brief document aims to offer additional details on the directions that future changes need to follow, whether at the level of legislation or at policy level.
Macedonia launched the process of reforms of media and the media sector, process that arises from the recommendations of the group of senior experts commissioned by the EU, the so-called “Priebe Report”, and the urgent democratic reforms document prepared by the European Commission. The reform process has two main components. The first included that necessary interventions in the media legislation – the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (LAAMS) and the Law on Media. The second component will consist of the internal reforms in the media and editorial offices, all with the aim to get to a situation in which we have a free, open, democratic, pluralist and sustainable media sector.
For quite some time now, the Parliament has been discussing, in the Second Reading stage, the Draft-Law on the Changes and Amendments to the LAAVMS. The Draft-Law, while submitted after a prolonged and rather comprehensive public discussion, including a series of talks and negotiations on certain changes with the directly concerned stake-holders (promotion of national music production, copyrights, etc.), is only a fine start to a prolonged process of intervention in several areas covered by the LAAVMS.
Namely, to ensure proper framework for the reforms which, in essence, should primarily be implemented at the level of media and editorial offices, we need to intervene in the legislation in the effort to eliminate the circumstances that contribute to the high level of exposure and vulnerability of the media to all forms of pressure. Such pressures and influences are mainly manifested, regardless of the motivation, as economic pressures which have high passing rate because of the unsustainability of the oversaturated market.
One of the main issues with the existing Draft-Law is the fact that, in addition to focusing on changes to the composition and manner of appointment of the two key implementing bodies and the efforts to eunsure financial independence and stability of the public broadcasting service, it touches on, in a rather superficial manner, to several individual aspects of some areas covered by the legislation. Changes in those areas, in accordance with the identified needs, need to be more substantial, cover all burning issues and approached holistically.
MDC discusses several such issues, mainly in the series of comments to different versions of the Draft-Law, but also in older policy documents. This shord document aims to present additional details on the directions that future necessary changes to the legislation should take, both at legislative and media policy levels, and the plan is to ellaborate all such open issues in individual, dedicated policy briefs and documents.
The document is attached (as printable PDF file) and is available on the link Future interventions in the media legislation.
This document was prepared with support from the Civica Mobilitas Programme of the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC). The contents of this publication is sole responsibility of the Media Development Centre and shall not be understood to represent, in any way or fashion, the views and positions of Civica Mobilitas, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation or implementing organisations.