Media Development Centre prepared a policy document with proposals for legal changes that would ensure fair and equal media presentation of electoral campaigns.
Media coverage and reporting on electoral campaign, in almost all elections held in the Republic of Macedonia since its independence, has been subject to numerous criticism and discontent. The unequal treatment of all candidates and parties that participate in elections, the bias in favour or one or another party in the reporting on their election campaigns, as well as the conduct of media in election (campaign) silence periods have emerged again and again in the reports of both domestic and international observers of Macedonian elections, as issues that need to be corrected or eliminated.
The last round of changes to the Electoral Code, adopted in January 2014, included changes of several provisions that regulate the media presentation of media campaigns, with the aim to provide for and ensure fair and balanced media presentation and coverage of election campaigns and candidates running for office in elections. In September 2013, the Media Development Centre prepared a similar policy document with proposals for legal changes that would ensure fair and equal media presentation of electoral campaigns. Those proposals were not accepted.
The reports of domestic and international observers on the 2015 Presidential and Early Parliamentary Elections again noted many irregularities and problems related to the media presentation of elections campaign. The OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report on the Presidential and Early Parliamentary Elections 2014 listed a series of irregularities. The Report noted that the majority of the media were clearly biased in favour of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE political party and its presidential candidate Gjorge Ivanov; that VMRO-DPMNE was the biggest buyer of advertising airtime and space in the print media; and notes the lack of qualitative analysis in the reports prepared by the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services.
Тhe Media Development Center published the report “Election 2014 – Implementation of Electoral Code’s Provisions on Media Electoral Coverage” in May 2014. The report presented the findings of the monitoring of the work of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) and the State Election Commission (SEC) during the Presidential and Early Parliamentary Elections held in April 2014.
The report offered a number of conclusions and recommendations that aim to improve the election legislation’s provisions on media coverage of election campaigns. It also aims to contribute to improve the work and operations of AVMS and SEC in future electoral processes in the Republic of Macedonia.
The Media Development Center conducted an in-depth survey of different aspects of the election process and the work and conduct of the media during elections, with the goal to prepare solutions for improvement of the electoral legislation in the segment of media coverage of election campaigns. For the purposes of this survey, we collected the opinions and recommendations of a number of experts in the areas of media and electoral systems.